Southgate: England must find another advantage


Publication date: Tuesday 11 June 2019 8h12

Gareth Southgate knows that England must continue to raise the bar to make a place for the glory of the Euro 2020. That's why the boss of the Three Lions changes the mentality of one. group that could soon welcome new faces.

A year after reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia, the loss in overtime against Holland led them to defeat in the last four of the League of Nations while their series went on without a trophy.

Sunday's shootout victory over Switzerland won the bronze medal, but the disappointment of missing the final against Portugal, the tournament's winner, hurt the group and underscored the shift in mindset overseen by Southgate.

"Well, I think we created an environment that was putting some pressure on the players and we want them to relax, to express themselves," he said after the match. "We talked a lot about them.

"But now comes a time when, in reality, we must demand more and find another advantage.

"If people can not cope with it, they will not be able to cope with it under pressure and so, from my point of view, I've thought a lot over the last 48 hours because I've probably been awake for 47 of them!

"I have to make sure that I constantly raise the bar with this group and we do not accept any kind of negligence to slip into it.

"I think players want motivation and start having more, which is really important."

Southgate believes that the 23 players in Portugal have the potential to continue to be part of the group, but they must continue to move forward as expectations grow.

The quest for improvement could well mean more new faces brought into the group for the Euro 2020 qualifiers in SeptemberAaron Wan-Bissaka and James Maddison call after the European Under-21 Championship.

"For me, it's important for people and their development," said Southgate, after confirming he would be in Italy to see England under-21 closely.

"It's obvious to Aidy (Boothroyd), it's important because he wants to win. But I have a broader vision about it because half of his team plays here, including Dele (Alli), Trent (Alexander-Arnold) and Joe Gomez.

"So, you know, it's not an easy hand that I've left to Aidy over the next couple of weeks, but there are still some promising and super promising players, and I can not wait to spend a few days with them and see them play under the little pressure created by a tournament.

"They know me because I'm always watching their training and coming to train with us. It's the environment of the club we live in and I want to help them succeed. That's how I should be.

"I want it to be for all teams, I see it as part of my job."

Alexander-Arnold is one of Boothroyd's still under-21 players, but his Liverpool development makes him an established member of the English side.

The 20-year-old helped Liverpool win the Champions League before joining the Three Lions. He has made giant strides since Southgate first saw him on a U-17 trip to the United States for the Nike Cup.

Set apart in this tournament, Alexander-Arnold has matured considerably since and was arguably the biggest threat to England in the match for third place against Switzerland, thanks to an exceptional crossing likened to that of David Beckham.

"Well, he used the ball very well," said Southgate. "His technique for his crossing is fantastic.

"There is still a bit of defense in positioning and awareness, but he has had fantastic experiences in a very short career. He is heading in a very good trajectory. "


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