Southgate admits younger England players felt pressure in Nations League
Southgate admits younger England players felt pressure in Nations League: During a high-pressure Nations League match, several of Gareth Southgate’s younger England players felt the burden of the shirt.
After Friday’s 1-0 loss to Italy in Milan, the visiting fans booed the manager at the final whistle. This result came after a 4-0 home loss to Hungary in June, a game in which Southgate was also booed.
It was the fourth and final match in a row that began with a defeat in Hungary and ended with a pair of draws against Germany and Italy.
The team’s performance against Germany at Wembley on Monday was plagued by shakiness, and they eventually found themselves trailing 2-0 heading into halftime.
But Southgate was pleased with the talent and grit they showed to take a 3-2 lead, despite a soft, late concession giving Germany a draw; he felt the passion and experience will strengthen them for the World Cup in Qatar, which begins in late November.
Southgate remarked, “The psychology of it all is fascinating for us; they have been through a lot.”
There are varying degrees of expertise and varied expectations within the group. Some young people manage it well, and others need advice and support. When they see it, their first thought will be, “What is this?”
We’ve discussed the shirt’s comfort, and now they’re tasting what their elders have endured for the first time. We’d love to see [a comeback] against Germany. We expect them to perform in this fashion because we know they can. We must constantly tell ourselves and them that they can achieve their goals.
Southgate stressed the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity, drawing an example from Manchester United defender Harry Maguire, who has lost his starting spot with the club and is still under intense scrutiny after being at fault for Germany’s first goal and losing possession in the buildup to their second.
Southgate has warned that Maguire’s World Cup chances will be “more complicated” if he does not play for United in the “seven to eight weeks” before the tournament.
On Monday night, the manager stated, “concentrate on our finest players – unless that position becomes unbearable.” He’s given himself enough of a cushion to dismiss Maguire in Qatar. Nonetheless, he continues to support one of his key lieutenants strongly.
Southgate acknowledged that everyone had told him how important he was to them. “It’s us. That’s not something I would do. Then why do we go with him? The reason is that he is one of our strongest bets for victory. Everyone would benefit from seeing a healthy, confident Harry Maguire on the field more often.
Of course, it holds true for several players, yet, it seems to all fall on him, which must be a trying situation. However, he is displaying outstanding moral fiber. “He’s a boy from Sheffield United to Hull City, so he’s not one for whom life has been easy. He’s got the grit to get over this.”
With Kieran Trippier and Reece James ahead of him in the right back depth chart, Southgate implied that Trent Alexander-Arnold would have to fight to make the final cut for England’s 26-man World Cup squad.
Trippier’s versatility gives him an added asset because of his ability to play on the left side.
Like when he left out left back Ben Chilwell against Italy, Southgate provided an explanation for why he did not include Alexander-Arnold in his 23-man match-day squad for the next encounter against Germany.
“I didn’t want any player sitting on the bench for two games,” Southgate explained. Chilly was not needed as a left-back substitute against Italy, but he was essential against Germany due to the team’s direction. And we have Kieran, who I think, right now, has the edge over Alexander-Arnold in all aspects of the game.
I’ve had in-depth discussions with everyone who was left out. I’ve given them an honest assessment of where they stand, what they need to work on, and where they’re succeeding. They’ve made it crystal clear where they stand.”
Southgate will not see his players again until they report for the World Cup on November 14. The following day they will fly to Qatar, where they will face Iran in their first game on November 21.
This tournament is special, Southgate remarked. There won’t be a do-over like the four weeks we had before Russia in the 2014 World Cup. Better adaptation than anyone else is a must for us.