ALEX McCarthy believes Gareth Southgate has brought the ‘spark’ back to English football.

Southgate led the Three Lions to a World Cup semi-final in Russia last year, losing to Croatia in extra time.

And McCarthy, who has handed his England debut by the former defender, has hailed the influence he has amongst the squad.

McCarthy revealed: “He’s done excellent.

“With the World Cup and everything, he has brought the spark back to English football.

“Going away with him and training under him, you can tell that he is a great manager to work under.

“He has done very well with England and all the boys respect him and are always looking forward to working with him in the future.

“He’s a very softly spoken guy who you can just have a normal conversation with.

“When you are on the training ground he has got his philosophy and he knows what he wants from the players and he’ll get that across to you.”

Having been involved in a number of squads, Saints’ goalkeeper finally made his England bow against the USA in November last year.

The 29-year-old came on in the second half during the 3-0 but didn’t have an awful lot to do because of England’s dominance in the game.

Southgate will be announcing his latest squad this afternoon for the games against the Czech Republic and Montenegro.

McCarthy, who has is no stranger to Southgate’s sessions at St George’s Park, revealed what goes on away from the training pitches.

“There are a few lads playing cards and there is a group playing Fortnite, there is always something going on,” he continued.

“There is a cinema there, so you can watch films as well. Everyone gets along.

“I don’t get involved with the cards, I either play Fortnite or watch a movie. I’ve been away a few times now, so you get used to it. It’s nice going away and doing different training sessions and training with different players.

“It freshens you up a bit and then once you’ve been away and come back, you feel ready to go again. It’s a good combination.

“It’s not as intense as there’s usually only a couple of games and you usually don’t have the time to get the training sessions in. It’s noticeably different, but in a good way.”

McCarthy added that Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford are the two members of the England squad who make his life difficult in training.

“Harry Kane never misses when he is in the box, it’s frightening.

“Marcus Rashford as well – I’ve never seen someone hit the ball so hard. I think I’ve done some penalties with Harry before and I don’t think he missed.”