HOW wonderful that the country’s spirits, morale and unity have been lifted by the England football players who have got us through to the semi-finals of the World Cup.

It’s been so long - 28 years since our last World Cup semi-final, in fact - to have felt connected, emotionally, to the national game.

At last a team of great lads under captain Harry Kane to be proud of and to celebrate. And seven were born in Yorkshire!

What an incredible manager Gareth Southgate (who lives in Harrogate) has turned out to be.

He comes across as an intelligent, thoughtful and caring individual with strategic focus, great leadership and excellent communication qualities that obviously inspire the players.

After England won the penalty shoot-out he has been able to exorcise his own personal demon of missing a vital penalty in Euro 1996 that he has had to live with.

They are successful because they are a proper team, who all play a part of the whole - not made up of 11 individuals with giant egos.

In these days of iPlayers how joyful for us all to view the drama of agony and ecstasy of the games together in millions - as a shared experience - as many of us remember in our youth during the 1966 final, before tele-recording was possible.

Dare we dare dream for tonight and Sunday to give a new generation a trophy of glory?

Keith Massey,

Bishopthorpe, York