St Petersburg — It 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. It makes life tough for the England manager, who, even at the height of their World Cup optimism, noted the unique issue facing him. "We only have 33% of the league to pick from. So that is still a huge problem for us," Southgate said. So for all the talk of England being stronger at the European Championship in two years’ time, Southgate knows it is...

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