England struggling with Euro 2024 expectations – Southgate

Gareth Southgate has admitted his England squad are struggling to cope with the expectations of winning Euro 2024 after labouring to a 1-1 draw against Denmark on Thursday in Frankfurt, Germany.

Harry Kane gave England an 18th-minute lead before Morten Hjulmand equalised 16 minutes later, and although Phil Foden hit the post midway through the second half, the Danes looked the likelier winners thereafter.

England are still top of Group C heading into Tuesday’s final match against Slovenia, but they were booed off by a significant number of their own supporters.

Southgate held a meeting with his 26-man squad earlier this week to discuss the mixed reaction to England’s opening win over Serbia, which sources have suggested shocked some of the players given 12 of them have never been to a senior tournament before.

And the Three Lions boss said: “We know the level has to be higher; we know the level can be higher.

“Maybe the biggest thing is we have to accept the environment that we’re in and the expectations that are around us. We are going to have to walk towards that challenge.

“At the moment we’re falling a little bit short of that. Ultimately that’s my responsibility. I’m the manager, and I’ve got to guide this group in the best way possible. To achieve extraordinary things, you have to go through some difficult moments.

“Of course we need the fans, you know we need the fans, but I have to say they’ve been brilliant, absolutely brilliant in the stadiums.

“And I can completely understand their frustration with the way that we played, but what I would say is these boys aren’t lacking effort at the moment.

“I’m not going to avoid going over to the fans at the end of the game. We confront it head on, and what we’ve got to do is play better and show people what we’re really capable of.”

Southgate admitted his error-strewn team were “anxious” and continued: “It’s not a case that they’re not trying, but we’ve got to find a better way of playing. We’ve got to find more quality in what we’re doing.

“I don’t think people would look at them and say, ‘They don’t care.’ If anything, at the moment, we care too much, and we’ve got to find a way of getting that right balance.”

England have four points from two games, after edging Serbia 1-0 in their first match. That points tally always has been enough to advance in the 24-team Euros format.

Still, England can finish in any position from first to third in the Group C standings after playing unbeaten Slovenia.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.