Southgate insists England will ‘be ready’ for Euros as Iceland errors ‘can be put right quickly’

Jason Soutar
Gareth Southgate scratches his head during a game
Gareth Southgate scratches his head during a game

Gareth Southgate insists England will “be ready” for Euro 2024 after their tournament preparation ended with a shock 1-0 loss at home to Iceland.

The Three Lions fell to a 1-0 defeat at Wembley on Friday night.

It was a woefully flat performance from Southgate’s men, with the England manager continuing to experiment before the European Championships get underway next week.

England kick-off their campaign with a match against Serbia next Sunday.

Explaining what went wrong against Iceland, Southgate said his side must do better “without the ball” and said some of his players will already “have one eye on” the tournament in Germany.

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“It was obviously a disjointed and disappointing performance and we didn’t show enough character but I think it’s good for us before an international tournament,” Southgate said.

“I think we’ve got to be better without the ball. I think that there were a lot of reasons for that and across the two games we probably haven’t had our full side out across any two games. We’ve been able to look at people, we’ve been able to learn about the balance of the team.

“I’ve been involved in a lot of last matches leading into a tournament. Inevitably players have one eye on what’s coming in terms of early challenges. No excuses on the result but there are a lot of things we can put right quickly.”

Southgate added: “We didn’t get pressing right and we were too stretched without the ball. There were questions we were not able to answer. If your out-of-possession game isn’t right it can make it feel like you don’t have a foothold on the game.

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“We’ll be ready (for the Euros).

“Tonight hasn’t gone as we would have hoped. I said to the players that not every day will go as you want and tonight was one of those. But also not everything will be wrong, we had enough chances really to win the game but we conceded too many chances as well.”

John Stones was substituted at half-time after going down early on following an awkward challenge.

Southgate says there is no need to be worried at this stage after taking the Manchester City centre-back off as a precaution.

“We think he’s probably okay but we didn’t want to take a chance given what’s coming up,” he said.

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