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Men’s football England must have the ‘humility to start again’ in Euro 2024, says Southgate

GARETH SOUTHGATE says England must have the “humility to start again” as the Euro 2020 runners-up look to go one glorious step further in Germany next summer.

Impressive progress during the former defender’s seven-year reign means the side ranked third in the world are among the favourites to lift the European Championship trophy in Berlin.

England found out their Euro 2024 group and potential pathways to the July 14 finale in Saturday evening’s draw at the stunning Elbphilharmonie concert hall in Hamburg.

Southgate’s top seeds avoided a so-called group of death after Slovenia and Serbia followed Euro 2020 semi-final opponents Denmark, but there is little chance of complacency seeping in.

“Well, certainly when Denmark came out, and you could still have Denmark, Croatia, Italy or something like that, then you’re wondering where it’s heading,” the England manager said.

“But then, of course, you have to be very careful not to underestimate the opponents you have.

“I’ve been fortunate as a coach and a player to have been to eight tournaments.

“I’ve seen a lot of teams that were fancied and well ranked going into tournaments not deliver and not get out of their group.

“So, we have to have the humility to start again, as well as we’ve been playing and as well as we’ve built over a long period of time.

“We’ve been ranked in the top five in the world for five years, so we’ve had consistency of performances and results.

“But a new tournament means a new challenge and the first objective is to get out of the group again.”

England have progressed from every group during Southgate’s tenure, going onto reach at least the quarter-finals at all three major tournaments.

There were signs of progress before they lost at that stage to eventual finalists France at the 2022 World Cup, having gone within penalties of becoming continental champions in the last edition of the Euros.

Put to Southgate that opposing teams and players have praised his work and the England team, he said with a smile: “Yeah, well, I take that with a pinch of salt. Managers are good at that… because I do it myself!

“It’s clear the team are heading in a good direction. The rankings came out this week and we were third in the world, so I think our performances across the calendar year have been good.

“Eight wins, two draws, we won the toughest qualifying group and we won it comfortably, but that’s history and you have to go again in the next calendar year.

“It’s nice when we travel around Europe I have to say do get well received and we do get a lot of credit, which is lovely.

“But of course we know there’s still a step we want to take and that’s what drives us.”

This is shaping up to be Southgate’s final tournament in charge, with his contract at the FA expiring after next year’s finals.

The 53-year-old had considered quitting after Qatar this time last year but decided to give it another go at winning the trophy he and the nation craves.

“Probably the biggest pressure is what you put on yourself because of what you want to achieve and what you what you want to bring for your country, really,” Southgate said.

“But it’s no more or less than when I started in the job seven years ago.

“We now have a lot more experience, a lot more experience of big matches, a lot more experience of navigating tournaments, so we’re looking forward to it.

“We’re hoping that we can give our fans, our public some more great nights like I think we have in the last three tournaments.”

This summer will go down in history if England flourish in Germany, where fans will make the journey to a tournament en masse for the first time during his time in charge.

“The most recent tournaments have been a little bit different,” Southgate added.

“It wasn’t so easy to get to Russia or Qatar, and in the Euros we were coming out of Covid and was very different as well.

“This will be a little bit more like the tournaments when I was playing and when I was growing up and, yeah, we’re looking forward to that.

“We’re pleased that our fans are excited because that’s what it’s all about.”

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