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Published 22 June 2021 2 min read
England Men's Senior Team

Gareth: 'More to come'

Written by:

Tom Dean

England boss believes his team can step up again as they head into EURO knockout stages

Gareth Southgate believes there's more to come from his England team, following their progress through UEFA EURO 2020 group D.

The Three Lions topped their group table, following Tuesday's 1-0 victory over Czech Republic at Wembley Stadium where Raheem Sterling's second goal of the tournament was enough to seal victory.

Having beaten Croatia in their opening game and then being held to a draw by Scotland last week, Southgate's team will now be back at Wembley on Tuesday 29 June as they enter the knockout stages and the round of 16.

And the manager is hoping with a week to build on his squad's growing momentum, they can step up another gear in the next stage of the competition. 

"I think there is more to come from us, definitely," he said.

"I think there are a lot of good things we’re doing and we’ve managed to get most of the squad into the games which is good.

“90 minutes for Harry Maguire tonight was important and 45 minutes for Hendo [Jordan Henderson] was a real step forward so a lot of positives for us.

“We haven’t scored from a set play yet and I know people laughed about us only scoring from set plays, but they are crucial in big matches and we’ve got to get those nailed.

"We’re not fluent but we have moments where we’re a good side. I think the Czechs are a really good side, they use the ball very well and they are difficult to break down."

Gareth Southgate with his coaching staff during the national anthem

The squad's preparation for this game was also disrupted, with both Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell forced to isolate and miss the game and they will be unavailable until next Monday.

But Southgate was pleased with the response of the players and their performance, particularly in the first half.

“I thought we started really well, we were stable with the ball," added Southgate.

"We had worked on some of the stuff in training yesterday and credit to the players, some things we had to adjust without the ball.

“We changed what we were doing without the ball overnight because of the different personnel so it’s a huge credit to the players that they were as stable without the ball as they were."

Among the players to benefit from Mount's absence was Bukayo Saka, who put in a man-of-the-match display in attack. 

The Arsenal youngster, in just his sixth senior appearance, proved to be a real livewire and Southgate reveals he's been pushing for a spot since the squad first met up.

“We hadn’t finalised everything because we got the shout during training [about Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount] and we’ve been super impressed with Bukayo [Saka] through the whole month," he said.

“He was excellent up at Middlesbrough and we really liked him with and without the ball and tonight his receiving under pressure was fantastic."

England now know they will host either Germany, France, Portugal or Hungary in the next round, so Southgate and his squad will be watching on with interest as Group F is decided on Wednesday.

“All of those are different sorts of tests, different sorts of games," he said.

“It’s great to have more supporters in, that’s for sure. Who knows if that’s going to be a good draw or not but I think we felt we wanted to win the group, we wanted to stay at Wembley.

“We’ll wait and see who we are going to play tomorrow.”