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Euro 2024: England boss Southgate: ‘Criticism no longer saddens me’

After public backlash, Three Lions coach says he chose to stop engaging with negativity years ago as it sapped his energy

Gareth Southgate

Gareth Southgate insists he is now oblivious to external criticism but in years gone by it would have saddened him to see his England side picked apart in public.

Southgate and his players came under the spotlight in the wake of England’s 1-1 draw with Denmark in Frankfurt last Thursday which saw them fail to ensure top-spot in Group C and seal a last-16 place at the earliest opportunity.

Former England strikers Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer – a former Three Lions teammate of Southgate – were especially vocal in their reaction, however speaking at the media conference ahead of the final group game against Slovenia in Cologne, the England boss asked what had been said.

“I’m oblivious to it,” he explained. “It’s not important to me. We understand everything we do will be scrutinised, but I’m my own biggest critic, and I think most of the players are as well. That’s how you coach a team and improve performance. As far as I am concerned there is nothing to be gained from listening to external criticism.

“What’s important to me is I guide this group of players through the tournament. We’re a high profile team. I’m very comfortable with that life.

“A few years ago I would have read it. It would have saddened me and taken energy from me.”

 

Southgate revealed Luke Shaw was the only member of the 26-man squad who would not be fit to face Slovenia, adding: “He’ll possibly train with the team tomorrow but he’s not quite ready yet.”

The manager admitted he knows England need an improved performance if they are to take any momentum through to the knockout stages but added: “We have had time on the training pitch and plenty of discussions with the players. Whatever I say is fairly irrelevant, we have to do it on the pitch.

“We’re all on the same page. The route forward was pretty simple to highlight and we have to go and deliver it. I’m expecting we do that tomorrow.”

He revealed ‘the mood is very good’ and insisted the squad will be blocking out the noise from fans and pundits back home.

“We know the world we live in, there’ll always be external noise but it shouldn’t affect us. What’s important is the internal. The performance is what we’re focusing on. The results have basically put us in the next round already and now we want to top the group.

“We are not hiding from anything and we are not making any excuses at all. That’s not what we do as a group. Tactically tomorrow is a different game. There are some fundamentals of how we have played for a long time that we need to get back to.

“We’ve had a short period here where we’re not functioning at the level we want to. That’s been a brilliant challenge to unpick that and find the best way forward and be honest about where we sat three or four days ago.”

Picture of Alex Hoad

Alex Hoad

Alex has more than 15 years' experience in sports journalism and has reported on multiple Olympics, World Cups and European Championships in additional to Champions League, Europa League and domestic football.

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