England head coach Gareth Southgate leaves the pitch after the third place match between England and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, July 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
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Euphoria over, back to reality for Southgate's EnglandIt could have been the greatest day of their lives but England's World Cup squad returned home on Sunday with the euphoria that surrounded their run to the last four having dissipated and familiar, less exhilarating, challenges lying ahead.The Premier League begins in just four weeks and Gareth Southgate's squad, players who were being hailed as national heroes just a few days ago, will return to the day job and the struggle for starting places at their clubs.In a league where a large majority of the players are imported from Europe and beyond, being a member of the England squad is no guarantee of first-team football.Last year, England's junior teams won the Under-20 World Cup, the Under-17 World Cup and the Under-19 European Championship.When the current England first team, however, are not even guaranteed regular club football, the idea that a conveyor belt of young talent will carry Southgate's squad to future glory is far from certain.
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