Gareth Southgate admits anything less than a semi-final appearance for England at this summer’s European Championship will be deemed a failure.
England head into this summer’s rescheduled Euro 2020 amongst the favourites to be crowned as champions, as the Three Lions bid to end a 55-year wait for major tournament success.
Southgate’s side reached the semi-finals of the World Cup three years ago before losing in extra-time to Croatia in the last four, the side they open their European campaign against at Wembley on June 13.
Ahead of this evening’s warm-up friendly with Austria, the England manager has been discussing his side’s expectations heading into the tournament and says anything less than matching their World Cup exploits would be viewed as a disappointing performance.
Asked if anything less than reaching the semi-finals would be deemed a failure, Southgate replied: “Yeah, it probably will.
“I think we’re realistic about that, we have to live with that expectation. We know the excitement around the team and it’s great, we’re now relevant.
“Expectations were lower (in Russia). We’ve got some exciting players and I don’t think these players are at their peak by any means. I think when I look at some of the players working with us it’s so exciting for England in the future.
“I’ve got to try to manage the expectations for the players. I accept the situation as a manager, there’s expectation, I have to deliver.
“We have to deliver as a group of staff, it’s not about me in terms of if we can be successful. But, of course, it’s about me if we fail. No problem, that’s the gig.
“But for the players, I’ve still got to bear in mind they are a young group, they have still got a lot of progression to make, some are now learning how to win things, being involved in big matches. It’s brilliant for their progress and opportunities for England, that’s what we want.
“Are we ready to win? Well, we’ve been to two semi-finals so the next step is to try to go further.”
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Author: Harry Diamond