Gareth Southgate, the head honcho of England’s football squad, isn’t one to settle for second best. In a fiery call-to-arms ahead of their final Euro 2024 qualifier against North Macedonia, Southgate stirred the embers of ambition within his team.
Despite securing their spot in the upcoming Euros and seemingly comfortable in the standings, Southgate was quick to remind his squad that complacency has no place in their pursuit of excellence.
Notably, he was irked by a perceived drop in performance during their recent clash against Malta, a team considerably lower in the rankings.
The manager’s message was clear: England aims not just to participate but to dominate. Southgate urged his players to aim for the top spot in world football, emphasizing the need for unwavering focus and consistency in every game.
For him, every match, regardless of the opponent, is an opportunity to fine-tune their skills and solidify their place among the best.
His frustration was palpable when addressing the notion of easing off after securing qualification. “Why?” he asked, refusing to accept any dip in dedication. Southgate sees no room for laxity; he’s unrelenting in his pursuit of perfection.
Acknowledging potential distractions within the team, Southgate admitted concerns about preoccupations with the upcoming Euros, indicating it might have affected their mindset against Malta.
He made it crystal clear: the image they portray on the pitch must reflect their ambitions and capabilities as a top-tier team.
As they gear up for the North Macedonia clash in a stadium notorious for its problematic pitch, Southgate remains cautiously optimistic.
Despite concerns over the playing surface, he reaffirmed his team’s readiness to adapt and excel, hinting at deploying Rico Lewis, a versatile option from Manchester City, to bolster the squad.
For Southgate, this is more than just a game; it’s a relentless pursuit of excellence. His words echo a commitment to instilling a winning mentality, one that demands nothing short of the best from his players at all times.
As England’s journey towards Euro 2024 continues, the message is clear: mediocrity is not an option.