England ‘believe’ they’ll win Euro 2024 as Southgate tells players to step up

Gareth Southgate previews England’s clash with Ukraine

Gareth Southgate has told Pep Guardiola’s treble winners that winning Euro 2024 for England would be the biggest feat of their career. The good news is that this summer will be the perfect moment to end England’s trophy drought – and that could only be the start.

It is not just the Manchester City players winning medals – it is a habit that is now beginning to run throughout the squad he has been preparing for a tricky qualifier against Ukraine in Wroclaw, Poland.

Southgate insists Jordan Henderson’s selection will not be affected by the angry reaction to his interview at the start of the week about his move to Saudi Arabia.

He is also set to start with Harry Maguire despite his lack of action for Manchester United. With qualification for next summer’s tournament technically possible over this international break, Southgate is convinced his Champions League and title winners are ready for international success.

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“There is definitely belief,” he said. “They definitely have huge desire. They have had a lot of success at club level and for a lot of them the missing piece is something with England – which they know would be bigger than anything else they have achieved.

“The whole group are determined on that. They are really responsive and I can’t speak how highly we feel to be able to work with them every day. The key is to transfer that on to the pitch. We have to do that against Ukraine.

“We were finalists last time, and we felt that in the World Cup we played very well, lost to one of the best two teams in the world and we know that there’s the possibility for this team to get better as well.

“So I think now they need that challenge, that the players don’t want us to come in and be talking differently, and we’ve got evidence over a long period of time that we should have that belief.

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“Of course, you’ve got to go and deliver it and a lot can happen in terms of availability of players and everything us, but for us that has to be the longer-term aim.

“This group wants challenge. They want targets and obstacles to overcome. That’s served us well over a period of time. Some players, it will probably be their last chance to win something, some will be at their peak, and some have still got space to grow.

“So I don’t see the team falling off a cliff after the next tournament. There’s enough youngsters that still have their best years ahead of them, in fact. So it’s a good balance.”

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