WE have at last found a leader with a level of competence, respect, integrity, a heart-warming humanity and whom many people have come to admire and trust.

But enough about Gareth Southgate.

The flags of St George that have been pinned to houses and cars for the past few weeks can be packed away again.

On the evening of the England World Cup semi-final Ludlow and Tenbury like our other market towns were like ghost towns. The World Cup, did however, provide a much needed mini-boost for some pubs in the area with crowds gathering to watch the games and take ‘refreshment’ encouraged by the fiendishly hot and humid weather.

Whilst the pay that footballers receive is outrageous, a manager and a diverse group of young men who have achieved their success through meritocracy were a credit to their country.

As Gareth Southgate said a country that has been horribly and irreconcilably split down the middle by Brexit was for a brief period united by sport.

But there is a reality check that even this writer, who claims no expertise when it comes to football, can recognise.

The format of the qualification system meant that the great footballing nations Italy and Holland did not even make it to Russia and results in the Finals meant that England were able to avoid the trio of Germany, Argentina and Brazil.

With respect to Columbia (beaten on penalties), Sweden, Tunisia and Panama, the victories were against teams in the second, third and fourth divisions of world football.

The defeats came against Belgium (twice) and Croatia - a nation of four million people that did not even exist last time England made a World Cup semi-final.

This is not to denigrate Gareth Southgate and the team but to offer a reality check and simply to suggest that hopefully people made the best of the past few weeks because this may not come again for a long time.

If we are to believe Donald Trump’s favourite British politician, the exit from the World Cup was not the only dream to die in the space of a few days.

Perhaps Boris Johnson inadvertently put his finger on a point that applies both to football and the great political issue of the day.

It is good to dream and we all do it.

But for the most part dreams are closer bedfellows to fantasy than to the real world in which we live. Dreams also are often linked to a nostalgic wish to return to the past.

Whether it’s football or our place in the world it is better to live in the present and make the best of now rather than try to recreate a past that is long gone.