England man insists ‘it’s the bigger picture’ as Iceland loss was ‘great practice’ before Euro 2024

Jason Soutar
England winger Anthony Gordon attempts to control the ball
Anthony Gordon attempts to control the ball

Anthony Gordon has urged fans to focus on “the bigger picture” after his third England appearance ended in a shock Wembley defeat to Iceland.

England completed their Euro 2024 preparation with a 1-0 home defeat on Friday evening, the first time since 1968 they have lost their final match before a major international tournament.

It is far from ideal preparation for the tournament in Germany. Gareth Southgate’s men face Serbia, Denmark and Slovenia in Group C.

After making Southgate’s final 26-man squad, Gordon made his second start for his country, playing 65 minutes before being substituted.

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The Newcastle United winger says the result was disappointing but insists the match was “great practice” for the Three Lions.

“It didn’t go the way we wanted but it’s the bigger picture,” he said post-match.

“It’s great practice for us, that’s probably how teams are going to play against us, so the more we play against teams like that and learn to break them down the better.

“We had a bit of a lack of quality around the final third.”

Asked about his chances of starting England’s Euro 2024 opener against Serbia, Gordon responded: “I hope so. That’s the first time I’ve kicked a ball really for four weeks so I just wanted to run to go into the tournament feeling fit and feeling fresh.”

Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice added that there is plenty of work to be done between now and England’s match against Serbia next Sunday.

“When we have that much of the ball, we have a couple of clear-cut chances and get beat 1-0 at home just before a Euros is not ideal,” he said. “But there were a lot of positive performances.

“In the end it becomes a frustration game, you’re chasing your tail a little bit and get caught on the counter-attack. It’s not ideal we lost but there’s a lot of learning curves you can build on as a team.”

“There’s no doubt about our quality on the ball as a collective (needs to be different). Maybe against the teams that sit in it’s about being a bit mentally switched on.

“I felt at times we were a little stretched, not as compact as we usually are. Inside I’m hurting and between now and the next game there’s work to be done.”

After playing next to Kobbie Mainoo in midfield again, Rice said: “We did it in March and it was really positive. I can imagine because we’ve lost some people are saying stuff but that’s football these days.

“We’re going to learn every game we play. Every game is a chance to learn and get better.”

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