Southgate: Jones, Cahill and Welbeck key to England success at World Cup

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The trio have not seen the field much in Russia, but the Three Lions boss believes they have been important contributors to the semi-final run

Gareth Southgate believes England's success at the World Cup is down to the effort of his whole squad, singling out for praise back-up players Phil Jones, Gary Cahill and Danny Welbeck.

None of the trio were required as England comfortably beat Sweden 2-0 in Samara on Saturday to move into the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time since 1990.

Harry Maguire and Dele Alli headers either side of the interval booked England a last-four clash against either hosts Russia or Croatia in Moscow on Wednesday.

But Southgate was quick to highlight the off-the-field contribution of senior players Welbeck, Cahill and Jones despite their lack of minutes at the World Cup so far.

"I can't speak highly enough of the whole squad and staff as they are so united, great level of commitment," Southgate said to BBC Sport

"Some of the guys haven't had a lot of time on the pitch but guys like Jones, Cahill and Welbeck, their mentality at training is as big a reason behind getting to the semi-final as anyone else."

Of England's potential semi-final opponents, Southgate added: "Russia in Moscow would be incredible to be involved in but let's see. We enjoy tonight, we hope everyone at home enjoys tonight as it's not very often this happens.

"All I know is that the [England] managers who got to semi-finals before I hugely respect and it's an incredible feeling to be involved in this."

England cruised past Sweden after needing penalties to get past Colombia in the last round.

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"We knew it'd be a different game to the other night, to come back after extra-time and penalties, the emotion and energy, it was a different test," Southgate said.

"It's a scrappier game against Sweden, they don't let you play, we had to withstand physical pressure but resilience was crucial to see it through. We knew we'd have the majority of the ball, it was about breaking them down but we got the goals. We're getting into good areas of the pitch.

"They're well-organised and tough to break down but our spirit was as good as them and our quality was a little better."

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