Published 03 July 2021 2 min read
England Men's Senior TEAM

Proud night for Southgate

Written by:

Tom Dean

Gareth Southgate reflects on a monumental night in Rome

Gareth Southgate cut the figure of a proud manager after leading his side to back-to-back major semi-finals on Saturday night. 

The England boss will sleep soundly in the knowledge that songs will be sung late into the night following the 4-0 victory over Ukraine on Saturday night. 

An early Harry Kane strike gave England the perfect start in Rome before Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson both notched either side of Kane’s second of the night, and third of the tournament. 

And Southgate was doubly satisfied with the result knowing what a hard time the nation has been through since the start of last year. 

“The players have been fantastic and to play as well as they did in a game with so much resting on it was really impressive,” he said after the game. 

“It’s fabulous. I suppose it’s still sinking in a bit. We’re in another semi-final, three in three years, and uppermost in my mind is wanting to go two steps further. 

“I know what will be happening at home and that’s great. It’s lovely to send everybody into a Saturday night, beer in the air wherever it is, and they should enjoy it. 

“It’s been a long year for everybody and I’m chuffed with the performances we’ve put on have brought so much happiness to people.

“It’s fabulous for our country to be in a semi-final at Wembley. Everybody can really look forward to that, it’s brilliant.”

Jadon Sancho was handed his first start of the tournament while Marcus Rashford and Henderson were both given minutes from the bench as Southgate utilised the strengths of the squad for the latter stages of the game. 

And with a tight turnaround before Denmark on Wednesday night, every member of the 26-man squad is going to be crucial for preparation. 

“We’ve known we had players that physically we needed to look after and manage, and we’ve been able to introduce those guys in. 

“We know across seven games the squad is so important, trying to give people a breather at the right time, and we learned a lot from Russia in that instance. 

“We won’t have got that perfect and tonight we were trying to balance players that were carrying knocks with players on yellow cards. 

“All the players have been brilliant – tonight, all the way through the group, they’ve been fantastic.”