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Published 20 November 2023 3 min read
England Men's Senior Team

Gareth Southgate on 'a completely different test' in North Macedonia

Written by:

Milly McEvoy

The Three Lions boss reflects on an unbeaten 2023 as England turn attentions to EURO 2024


Gareth Southgate reflected on what has been a strong year for England, after they ended 2023 and a successful UEFA EURO 2024 qualification campaign with a 1-1 draw against North Macedonia.

The Three Lions had already secured their place in Germany next summer following October’s win over Italy, and they followed that up with a 2-0 victory against Malta last week before heading to Skopje.

And while Southgate’s team couldn’t end the calendar year with another win, the manager had plenty of positives to take as attentions turn to next year’s focus.

“I think the really big results were in March winning in Italy and the result against Ukraine so it meant coming here tonight was a completely different test,” said Southgate.

“Given that we had already qualified and everything we achieved, I thought the mentality of the players tonight was excellent and the quality with the ball was good on a very difficult pitch.

“It was probably just that finish, that final pass which was difficult to find against their defence but I thought lots of positives to take from these performances.

“We’ve now got the next exciting bit with the draw at the beginning of December so we will see exactly what the path looks like.”
England's equaliser arrived in the second half, thanks to an own goal from Jani Atansov
England's equaliser arrived in the second half, thanks to an own goal from Jani Atansov
Southgate handed debuts to Rico Lewis and Cole Palmer during November’s windows and with two more games in March against Brazil and Belgium to come before he has to name his EURO squad, he admits he has plenty to be looking at.

“There are lots of players to keep track of, because in this batch of games, Trent [Alexander-Arnold] has again done an excellent job in midfield, has used the ball really well and has done really well.

With Rico coming in, Cole Palmer coming in, there is lots for me to think about.

“He [Lewis] was excellent, his composure with the ball, the fact that he did respond as he did to the setback which was really, really harsh. He is a super footballer and he was excellent, I thought. We are really pleased with him."