Gareth Southgate: England Must Not Take Wins for Granted


June 20, 2024 · 2 min read

Gareth Southgate: England Must Not Take Wins for Granted
Football | June 20, 2024
England's Euro 2024 campaign started with a 1-0 win over Serbia, despite some fan criticism. Gareth Southgate remarked that he is happier when he avoids social media. (Image: Jack Pitt-Brooke)

Gareth Southgate has emphasized that England must not take victories at major tournaments for granted as they prepare to face Denmark at Euro 2024. England began their campaign with a 1-0 win over Serbia, though the performance received some criticism from fans. Despite the negative reaction, this is only the second time England has won their opening match in a European Championship, and Southgate acknowledges the high expectations of supporters.

“I’ve been in this environment for eight years, so I understand it all,” Southgate said. “It used to annoy me, and now I’m ambivalent. Winning matches in tournaments is incredibly hard. In this tournament, there’s incredible support for all the teams in the stadiums, which is a bit different from the last two tournaments. We’ve had some good results over the years, so maybe we even take results for granted. I should let the boys enjoy it more than they do. I hope they have a little bit longer than me! There should be more joy in it, but that’s not my reality. My focus is to qualify from the group. We have two tough opponents and two games to achieve that.”

Gareth Southgate admitted that criticism, even after a win, is sometimes hard to accept but is part of the job. “The environment around England is one of the hardest things to deal with,” he told the BBC. “It’s not necessarily about playing against the opponent; it’s about dealing with everything.” England took the lead after just 12 minutes against Serbia with Jude Bellingham’s powerful header and dominated the first half in Gelsenkirchen. However, they managed only five shots in the match as Serbia controlled possession after the break. Southgate acknowledged that England would need to improve against the team they faced in the Euro 2020 semi-finals.

“We know we have good players and can play better than we did the other day,” he said. “But the players, in an incredibly pressurized moment, started exceptionally well and defended brilliantly throughout the game. I think they’ll be better for having a game under their belt. There’s so much tension emotionally that I don’t think people can really understand what it’s like for young players. We’re pleased to have gotten a result, and we know we have to be good tomorrow.”

One player who will not be available against Denmark is defender Luke Shaw. Southgate confirmed that the Manchester United left-back has not recovered from his hamstring injury in time. “Luke won’t be involved tomorrow, but he’s on track for what we originally thought,” Southgate said. “He needs a bit more work. There are days when he needs to do more than the rest and then recover. He’s still in and out with the others and operating on his own program as well.”

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