Southgate: 'This team can go again'
Gareth Southgate has been sharing his thoughts on UEFA EURO 2020, following what has been an incredible tournament for his players and the supporters.
England might’ve suffered heartbreak in the final against Italy on Sunday night but Southgate and his players can be immensely proud of the journey they’ve been on this summer.
Building on the success of the World Cup three years ago and reaching a first major final in 55 years, the Three Lions united the nation with their conduct both on and off the pitch.
And the England boss’ first thoughts the morning after the night before were a mixture of sad reflections and optimism for the future.
“My first thoughts this morning are with all the boys that have done so well for us,” he said.
“The players have had an incredible togetherness and spirit which has brought so many parts of our country together.
“They should be so proud of what they’ve done. I think they have had a fabulous experience, they have loved one another's company.
“There's a club-like spirit here. All this team can go again - there is no doubt about that.”
Despite all of their success, some of the players have been subjected to online abuse since the Final - something that has been condemned by the FA and echoed by Southgate.
“For some of them to have been abused I think is unforgivable. It’s just not what we stand for.
“We’ve been a beacon of light bringing people together and being able to relate to the national team and that stands for everybody.
“That togetherness has to continue and we’ve shown the power, energy and positivity that our country has when it does.”
Without having watched the game back, Southgate believes it’s still too soon to fully reflect on the events of Sunday night but is confident there will be lessons to learn from the experience.
And after a busy summer, the 50 year old has earned a well-deserved break before shifting his focus to qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“You’re always learning as a manager and I’ve had the opportunity to manage in some of the biggest games in world football now," he reflected.
“Those games take you through a rollercoaster and so many decisions to make across the four or five weeks. You’re never going to get them all right and we’d never claim that we did.
“Sometimes you win matches despite certain decisions and sometimes you lose matches when they were still the right decisions to make.
“It’s all part of learning. Every manager will reflect on every game they take charge of and better for all of the experiences they go through. That process is never-ending.”
The Final Word
Aitch delivers the final word on England