England stars ‘consumed’ by critics as ‘player ratings’ are used to ‘fuel siege mentality’

Joe Williams
England players celebrate Jude Bellingham's goal against Slovakia at Euro 2024
England are through but we're not entirely sure how

England players have been using their critics to ‘fuel a siege mentality’ ahead of their quarter-final clash against Switzerland on Saturday.

The Three Lions were underwhelming in their three Group C matches against Serbia, Denmark and Slovenia but managed to top the group with five points and progress to the last 16.

Ivan Schranz’s goal for Slovakia had looked like knocking England out in their last-16 clash on Sunday but a spectacular overhead kick from Jude Bellingham took the match to extra time, with Harry Kane scoring to give Gareth Southgate’s side a 2-1 win.

Despite the dramatic win, there was no hiding that it was another poor performance from Southgate’s side, with England still facing criticism as they head into the quarter-finals.

The Daily Mail insists that the players have become ‘consumed’ by the criticism with even player rating columns ‘under increased scrutiny’.

‘England players are using the hostility towards their Euro 2024 performances to fuel a siege mentality inside the camp.

‘Some players have become so consumed with the way they are judged by critics and fans that proving their detractors wrong is now a source of motivation.

‘They have become so fascinated by how they are being received that even traditional player ratings by media outlets, which mark individuals from one to 10, are under increased scrutiny.

‘Similarly, head coach Gareth Southgate spoke to players ahead of Sunday’s 2-1 win over Slovakia about the way their opposition had said their team spirit was superior to England’s.’

Goalscorer Bellingham hit out at the “rubbish” coming out of England from fans and the media during Euro 2o24 after their victory over Slovakia on Sunday.

Bellingham said: “It’s a feeling that is like no other. In international football, in knockout football, it’s even a worse feeling, because you’re 30 seconds from going home, having to listen to all the rubbish, feeling like you have let a nation of people down.

“In one kick of the ball, everything can change. It’s a feeling I don’t like to have but when it’s done, it feels great.

“It’s a habit I’ve picked up from Madrid. Obviously my game has improved a lot since I’ve joined and I’m grateful I could bring it to this game.”

👉 16 Conclusions on England limping past Slovakia: Southgate out and at least three players need dropping
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When asked what he meant by “rubbish”, Bellingham added: “You know what I mean by the rubbish…

“Playing for England should be the most proud moment of your career but often it’s quite difficult. There’s a really high intense pressure. The fans expect a lot from us regardless of what happened in recent tournaments years and years ago.

“People talk a lot. You do have to take it personally a little bit. We work so hard at this game. We come in every day, we work hard to put on a performance for the fans, sometimes it doesn’t go well and sometimes it feels like there’s a a bit of a pile on, it’s not nice to hear.

“But you can always use it and for moments like that, it’s nice to throw it back to some people.”