Gareth Southgate has delivered a rabble-rousing speech to his England players, telling them to carry on making the nation proud.

The England boss made a special point of praising the work many of them have done during lockdown with a mention for the likes of Raheem Sterling on anti-racism and Marcus Rashford on child poverty.

But Southgate then stressed how important it is to build on that for the future of the England team and staying connected with the fans at a time they cannot attend games.

It was a rallying cry from the Three Lions boss ahead of the Nations League games with Iceland and Denmark to try to stress their importance at a difficult time ahead of the start of the season.

Will England beat Iceland on Saturday? Have your say below.

But he said he was proud of the way the squad had behaved in lockdown with the Players Together initiative which was heavily backed by club captains like Jordan Henderson and Harry Maguire.

Southgate stressed it set an example for the whole country and, even though Henderson and Rashford are missing through injury, the whole squad deserves praise for being focused in the build-up ahead of next summer’s Euros.

The speech is understood to have gone down well with the players as they like the way Southgate gets his message across on what it means to represent England.

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England have not played since last November because of the coronavirus pandemic which led to the European Championship being postponed for 12 months.

But Southgate is clearly determined to keep the players focused on a growing sense of national pride ahead of next summer.

Wembley is hosting England’s Group matches and also the final stages of the Euros which provides a big chance of success on home soil.