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England will be hoping winning Euro 2020 does not prove to be mission impossible following a call of support from Tom Cruise – which manager Gareth Southgate missed as he was busy plotting his own version of the Italian Job.
The Three Lions head into their first major final in 55 years when they meet Italy at Wembley on Sunday looking to land a maiden European Championship title.
Southgate and his Few Good Men will be cheered on by the nation and have received a number of messages of support.
In their quest to be the Top Guns in European football the squad have been sent letters from the Queen and Prime Minister Boris Johnson, while they enjoyed a Friday night screening of Cruise’s latest blockbuster “Top Gun: Maverick” ahead of its release.
Southgate was too busy pouring over videos of Sunday’s opponents to join his players but feels they have had a summer to remember at St George’s Park.
“They were very fortunate,” Southgate said of their message from A-lister Cruise. “I don’t know whether they’re supposed to have said this because they all had to sign a (non-disclosure) form.
“They had a preview of a film that’s due out further down the line and they had Tom dial in to speak to them which was, I would imagine, quite surreal.
“I was in a meeting watching videos of Italy but that’s another story.
“I think they all thoroughly enjoyed that experience and, yeah, they’ve had a good week, really. Ed Sheeran (who performed a private gig earlier in the tournament), Tom Cruise – the life of an England footballer.”
Captain Harry Kane will lead the team out at Wembley and while he enjoyed the call from Cruise – who was at Wimbledon for the women’s final on Saturday – he knows it would be risky business to take his eye off the biggest game of his career.
“Obviously we have had ex-players and people get in touch,” he told BBC Radio 5Live. “We actually had Tom Cruise get in touch yesterday evening, you get everyone who loves football.
“The majority of people in the world love football, so it’s great to have all that support, not just in England but across the world, so it’s been a great time for all of us, we’ve enjoyed every moment of it, so we’re just looking forward to hopefully finishing the job.
“Yes, we were fortunate enough to have a watch of one of his films. I think he was over here in the UK and he just dialled in and FaceTimed us just to wish us the best as a group, so that was nice of him.
“I’m not sure if he will be there at the final or not but football is such a big part of the world and it’s nice to have that support from all different types of businesses I guess.
“Any team we play we feel like we can beat so it’s just about going out there and executing it on what will be the biggest stage under the biggest pressure.
“We have done that amazingly so far in this tournament, when the pressure has been on we’ve really stepped up to the mark, so from our point of view it is just another opportunity to do that.”
Sheeran gigs, chats with Hollywood stars and Declan Rice video-calling James Corden aside, hearing from one person in particular was special for Southgate as he received a note from former England boss Roy Hodgson.
“In terms of messages, there have been many,” he said. “Roy sent me a lovely message which meant a lot. I was very grateful for how he was with me when I was the Under-21 coach.
“He’s allowed me to get on with the job. He’s always been there if ever I’ve needed to speak.
“He’s always been incredibly supportive and he’s never in a press conference got drawn into commenting on the team or a player that’s playing at his club and telling me I should pick them.
“He has been completely respectful of that. I’ve got to bear that in mind when I’m no longer in this position because he’s been a real class act in that regard.”