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Gareth Southgate persuades the England squad to dream of glory

Sat 15 May 2021 | 8:30

The England boss persuaded his squad to “allow everybody to dream” of winning the European Championship with a strong start in the summer.

Gareth Southgate

has seen great improvement in the squad since starting his reign in 2016, helping his side get into the 2018 World Cup’s semi-finals in Russia as well as the last four in the Nations League a year later.

England are preparing for Euro 2020 with a squad full of promising young players, making them one of the favourites to win.

The England manager believes his men “shouldn’t be afraid” of acknowledging that they want to win, but they should pull off talismanic performances against Croatia, Scotland and the Czech Republic in group-stage games to accomplish that.

''

I said ahead of Russia that we wanted the country to have pride in the team and I think we achieved that,"

Southgate said.

"Some of that is about results and some of that is about the way the team are and the connection with the fans.

"Now, of course, if you don't win the matches, then that pride isn't there, is the realty. We've now been to two semi-finals and we are as keen as everybody else to go further.

"We understand that expectations change. We shouldn't be afraid of saying we want to go and win. We know there is some improvement for us to do. We've started to beat some of the top teams over the last couple of years, we have to do that consistently and if we are to win this tournament the way this draw looks we would have to do that on two or three occasions.

"As a team we've got to make it small steps at a time - qualify from the group, get that nailed with a group where there are three very tough games and opponents. Croatia have beaten us in the recent past, Czech Republic have. We've done the same to them and we know what the game with Scotland game means for everybody.

"So we have to allow everybody to dream, we want to dream ourselves but we've got to make sure we won't just win because we're at home, we won't just win because we're an exciting team, we've got to get all the parts right and that's got to be our aim.''

To prevent spending a lot of time at their St. George's Park base, Southgate elaborated the club’s decision to play the warm-up games against Austria and Romania in Middlesbrough.

Southgate said: '

'We basically have three weeks from the last Premier League game to our first group match and the way we've worked over the last few years, we've always given the players a period of time with their families - I think they need that at the end of the season, psychologically as well as physically.

"Then we'll go to the north-east, which is a nice change of environment for us. Really good facilities, good people at Middlesbrough. I know that when that was offered to me as an option, that everything there will be as we would like it.

"It means we also don't spend too long as St George's. It's a great base for us, but also I didn't necessarily want to be here for 40-50 days.

"Last summer we were talking about going away for that prep, that's not possible now, so to be able to take a game to the north-east, where we haven't been for a few years, is a great opportunity for us.

"Then we come back to St George's which we are familiar with, which we can control the facilities, which are first class and there is a feeling we can sort of batten the hatches down, we can have the privacy we need but at the same time maintain the connection with the public through our interviews and our outputs and make sure it's an environment the players enjoy so that they are able to enjoy their football as well.''


source: SportMob