A fan's narrative: Why I'll always support my club side more than my country
I've always been a huge football fan. Ever since I was young, it's been an integral part of my life, whether it's been watching or playing it.
I was born into a family of Manchester United fans and was lucky to grow up in the Sir Alex Ferguson era, where they enjoyed unprecedented success under the now legendary Scot. The first 20 years of my life (1993 to 2013) coincided with the most successful spell in the club's history.
Admittedly since Sir Alex left it's not been plain sailing but the Reds have still been reasonably successful since then (if we erase 2013-14 from our memory). Even Louis van Gaal won an FA Cup during his time at the club and David Moyes got to a Champions League quarter-final (though that's about all he did right).
At the same time as supporting United, I've always been a huge England fan though my passion has cooled somewhat with each failure at a major tournament. The horrendous defeat to Iceland at Euro 2016 was particularly hard to take.
Even when I was growing up I was aware that they always seemed to choke and under-perform at every single major tournament. Even now they've only ever won one tournament and that was 52 years ago, which is unacceptable for a nation of England's size and pedigree.
I've always been more passionate about United (and the Premier League in general) than England. Under Mourinho, United aren't exactly great to watch but they are certainly effective (Mourinho has the greatest win percentage of any United manager ever). My love for the Reds is a passion that will never be extinguished. I still like England but I've never preferred them to my club side.
Under Sir Alex United gained a reputation for playing attractive, attacking football and blowing teams away which gave me many great memories growing up. Nevertheless, these days United play a completely different style of football under Mourinho- functional and defensive, not dissimilar to how England play under Southgate.
It's hard to see England doing well at this World Cup although they should easily progress from a group containing minnows Panama and Tunisia. Belgium should win the group, with a side packed full of star-studded players like Hazard, De Bruyne, Kompany and Lukaku.
Comparatively, England are quite average and aren't very entertaining. There's no real class in the squad apart from Harry Kane. A central midfield of Jordan Henderson and Eric Dier is not going to be creative, though Dele Alli is a gifted, if inconsistent player.
However, England are defensively sound and Jordan Pickford is a very reliable goalkeeper so England are unlikely to be thrashed or beaten heavily by teams. Nevertheless, with the attacking options England have, it's hard to see them blowing sides away.
Of course, I could say exactly the same thing about the current Manchester United side- good at the back but having a lack of firepower in attack. Mourinho was criticised heavily by many pundits and fans last season though a 2nd placed finish in the league is still respectable. Ultimately, there is potential and quality in United's first team (Sanchez, Matic, De Gea, Pogba, Lukaku etc.) that is lacking in England's starting line-up.
I'll always support England but they are a huge disappointment at every major tournament and I doubt that this World Cup will be any different. Club comes before country for me and I think a large portion of Premier League fans would say exactly the same thing.
Hopefully England will prove me wrong and do well at this World Cup.
Do you think England will finally perform well at a major tournament this time around? Sound off in the comments below!