Gareth Southgate said England must be “absolutely tough” from now on as World Cup preparations escalate on the back of the Nations League results in June.
England are in Milan to face Italy, their final opponents in Euro 2020, on Friday evening, knowing that defeat would lead to their relegation from the first division in the Nations League.
It will be an embarrassing moment and another difficult bump in the path of one of the World Cup candidates in their penultimate match before the tournament.
Southgate’s side are determined to return to winning ways on Friday as they return to the field for the first time since some fans called the coach’s head during their humiliating 4-0 home loss to Hungary.
“Well, the individual part is not important,” the England coach said of the stick he faced. “We analyzed everything, every department.
“I think when you win…we were running that summer 22 games unbeaten and maybe you don’t analyze wins quite as well as you analyze defeats.
“Maybe this is not the right approach in actual fact.
“But I felt like I compromised certain decisions internally, and you wouldn’t win if I compromised.
“It was good for me to sharpen that focus again because what we are up to is we have to be absolutely tough and I have to create an environment for the players that allows them to excel.
“And to provide the best platform for them to be at the level they have been in the last five or six years.”
When asked what the compromises were, Southgate said: “No, because they are internal things that we work on as a team, so there is no need for these compromises to be public.”
England team news
John Stones has been suspended for the Nations League match with Italy, after his last red card against Hungary. Jordan Henderson is unlikely to feature at Milan, with the Liverpool captain returning to fitness, but he could feature against Germany on Monday. The rest of the team trained as usual on Thursday.
Defeats against Hungary brought miserable courage in four matches in June, as they lost 1-0 in Budapest, followed by draws in Germany and behind closed doors to the Azzurri.
But the 4-0 knockout on Molineux was the smash hit that left them at a crossroads with the World Cup just 60 days away.
“I’m not really sure it’s about the format because when you’re in an international environment there are so many weeks and months between matches that start from zero every time, really,” Southgate said.
“There were many conditions in the summer, firstly, high-quality games and high-quality opponents, but also the need to take care of some of our big players.
“I think every country has done that. Speaking to the managers of Denmark, Belgium and France over the summer, they all found this challenging because they are all thinking about the World Cup as well.
“Also the players that we wanted to see more of because there are no friendlies after that, which you can usually take part in in the tournament.
“Two games behind closed doors, so any number of reasons but we also thought about everything and dissected it as a group of staff.
“When I passed [challenging] As a manager, which I have, it helps because you have real clarity on what needs to happen and how to get through those periods.
“Also, I think if we get out of those matches and wonder why things haven’t gone so well, that would be an even bigger concern.
England’s next two matches…
- Friday 23 September: Italy (Away) – kick-off at 7.45pm
- Monday 26th September: Germany (at home) – kick-off at 7.45pm
“But we knew the exact reasons and that’s a challenge for us as a group of staff and then ultimately for us to put this challenge to the players to respond.
“We know that the level of performance has to be incredibly high to achieve what we want to achieve in the World Cup.”
John Stones’ red card against Hungary means he has been suspended for the San Siro trip.
England’s 28-man squad to face Italy and Germany
goalkeepers: Dean Henderson, Nick Pope, and Aaron Ramsdale.
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Chilwell, Conor Cody, Eric Dyer, Mark Gueye, Rhys James, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Fikayo Tomori, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker.
Midfielders: Judd Bellingham, Mason Mount, Jordan Henderson, Declan Rice, James Ward-Prowse.
Attackers: Tammy Abraham, Jarrod Bowen, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka, Raheem Sterling, Evan Toni.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson came into the squad with Calvin Phillips’ injury but Southgate said the plan was always for him to play against Germany on Monday rather than Italy.
“Great tests for us, great games we have to take part in first and foremost,” Southgate said of the A3 group header.
“We play with two of the strongest football nations in history in two of the most famous stadiums you can play in, and very nice tests for us.
“Of course we want to improve our performance from the summer and let the camp feel good about us going to the World Cup.
“Coming here and playing Italy in Milan is a great opportunity to do that.”
Kane, Southgate on the anti-discrimination campaign: Only too many players can do
Sky Sports News has confirmed that FIFA has not yet sanctioned England’s use of the “OneLove” rainbow emblem at the World Cup in Qatar.
The FA announced on Wednesday that England – along with nine other European nations participating in the World Cup – will wear the rainbow captain’s armband during the tournament as part of an anti-discrimination initiative, and in support of the LGBTQ+ community.
Same-sex relationships are illegal in Qatar, although tournament organizers have asserted that gay fans attending the World Cup will be free to book hotel rooms together, and will not be criminalized, for example, for holding hands in the street.
Stonewall and Amnesty International welcomed the position taken by the FA.
The original idea for the rainbow badge came from the Dutch national team, which plans to do the symbolic sign along with other countries including England, Wales, Germany and France.
However, FIFA has not yet given permission to wear the rainbow badge.
“FIFA confirms that it has received requests from member associations in connection with the 2022 World Cup and will respond to them in due course,” the global governing body told Sky Sports News.
FIFA and UEFA both take a tough stance on the use of political images in football.
Law 4 of the FIFA Laws states: “The equipment must not contain any political, religious or personal logos, statements or images.
“A player team whose mandatory basic equipment (of which the captain’s armband is one) has political, religious or personal logos, statements or images will be penalized.”
However, the FA and other European countries are confident that the use of the rainbow badge does not violate FIFA rules.
England captain Harry Kane and coach Southgate have backed the ‘OneLove’ anti-discrimination campaign, but acknowledged its impact will be limited in Qatar.
Kane will wear the armband for the first time in England’s Nations League match with Italy at San Siro on Friday night.
Asked what impact the campaign could realistically have in Qatar, given the country’s human rights record, Kane said on Thursday: “There is a lot players can already do, and wearing an armband on the world’s largest stage will have an impact.”
“But we can only do what we can. We have certainly taken a step forward to help some of the issues in Qatar.”
Kane revealed that he had spoken to his former teammate and Denmark captain Christian Eriksen and current Tottenham teammate Hugo Lloris, France captain, about the campaign.
It was launched just two months before the World Cup kicks off in Qatar, where the treatment of migrant workers has been highlighted and where Kick It Out says there is a “risk” for LGBTQ+ fans and players who may want to travel to the Gulf state for the tournament due to the criminalization of homosexuality. in the country.
Asked about the campaign, England coach Gareth Southgate said: “There’s not much the players in particular can do other than talk about these issues and put them on the table because ultimately we demand change in a country that we demand. They respect, they have made progress, but they don’t have any. control that.”
Southgate continued: “We’ve done a lot of research, the Football Association has had countless meetings with NGOs and migrant workers in Qatar, and they’ve collected all the information and requests from the people affected. There are limits to what can be achieved.”
“Talk about issues, raise issues and put them on the table is the method that people who have been involved in the sport have used in the past and that is what we are trying to do this time.
“There will always be criticism, whatever you do but we are trying to influence the areas we have been asked to influence. Unless other ideas and other requests are made that we think are appropriate, it will be more difficult to do than we have been asked.”
World Cup Group B matches in England
November 21: Iran (Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan) – kick-off at 1 pm
November 25: United States of America (Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor) – kick-off 7pm
November 29: Wales (Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan) – kick-off 7pm