Harry Kane has asked England fans to be patient with the side and promised there is no shortage of pride in the dressing room.
Gareth Southgate’s team were labouring towards a one-goal World Cup qualifying win away to lowly Malta on Friday night when three goals in the last five minutes saw them leave the Ta’Qali Stadium with a 4-0 win under their belts, their biggest winning margin in more two years.
Kane, who topped and tailed the scoring, believes England’s late flurry was just reward for biding their time, not panicking and maintaining self-belief – and he now wants the supporters to show the same resolve.
But audible boos from the away end when the teams went into the break goalless and some withering social media critiques suggest there is still a way to go before all parties are on the same page.
“Obviously they can be frustrated, we were frustrated in the first half. We want to blow teams away. But they have got to stay patient, just as we did and we scored four very good goals in the end,” said the Tottenham striker.
“But sometimes people underestimate the teams we play. Especially at home they can make it difficult, particularly in the first half when they’re energetic. It’s a big scalp to try to get a result against England.
“We’re by no means the finished article, there’s lots of work to do, and we’ve just got to stay patient as a country together. It’s not going to happen overnight.”
Kane, who was joined on the scoresheet by Ryan Bertrand and Danny Welbeck, passionately rejected the suggestion that the struggle to break down a side ranked 190th in the world reflected badly on the heart or desire in the squad.
“I think that’s a thoroughly unfair statement,” he said. “Every player here is very proud to represent their country.
“There’s a lot of hard work and effort to get where we are. It started at a young age and took a lot of hard work and dedication. Anyone who says that doesn’t understand what it takes – that’s probably why they’re sitting at home watching it and we’re out there playing.”