Euro 2024: Pressure a privilege for England – Anthony Gordon

England forward Anthony Gordon said he is embracing the pressure that has been placed upon the team ahead of their Euro 2024 round of 16 clash against Slovakia on Sunday.

The England players — and manager Gareth Southgate — have been criticised for their performances in the tournament despite finishing top of Group C.

Southgate’s team earned a narrow win over Serbia in their first group game before producing unconvincing performances in draws with Denmark and Slovenia.

When asked his thoughts on the idea of “pressure being a privilege” with regards to the England team, Gordon said: “Yeah, I’ve said that actually on this camp to the staff when I’ve spoke about the media surrounding the team.

“I’m reading a book from [New Zealand rugby legend] Dan Carter at the minute and that’s actually a quote he uses in the book.

“So that’s been on my mind a lot. And like I said before, pressure is a privilege because it means people expected things from you, which in return means they think you’re good at what you do.”

Gordon has had little game time at the tournament, with his sole appearance coming as an 89th minute substitute in their 0-0 draw with Slovenia.

When asked what difference he would bring to the side if picked to start against Slovakia Gordon said: “I think my main strengths are I’m very direct. I’m quick, so I know I’m a nightmare for anyone that I play against.

“I’m positive, every time we get the ball I always try and make something happen. I’m not a very safe player. I’m always going for it. I’m always trying to put people on the back foot.

“I think with the players we’ve got, the likes of H [Harry Kane] who like to drop deep, I think I add sort of a different element to the team.”

Gordon has been on the receiving end of teammates’ jokes after he turned up to training with cuts and grazes on his hands and face after falling off a bicycle earlier in the week at their training camp in Blankenhain, Germany.

“The worst thing about it was because I was on my phone, I actually didn’t know I was falling off until I hit the floor because I was just focused on my phone,” Gordon said.

“I think the moral of that story is we probably spend too much time on our phones these days.

“He [Southgate] laughed at first just like everyone else did. It was a bit of a joke. It wasn’t that serious, just a few scratches. So everyone was just sort of laughing at me and laughing at my pain.”

Fellow forward Phil Foden has rejoined the team after flying back to the U.K. on Wednesday for the birth of his third child.

Meanwhile, Slovakia centre-back Milan Škriniar said while England may have better individuals, his side can counter them with their work as a collective.

“In my opinion, they rely on individual quality and they know that they have players who can decide matches for them,” Skriniar said.

“That’s why I think we can handle them through teamwork.”

Skriniar added the pressure will be squarely on England and that has already affected how they have played at the tournament in Germany.

“Even in the first match [a 1-0 win for England over Serbia], they went in with the fact that they are England, and they have to manage things in terms of results.

“The media and fans [have been critical] after their matches, so they will be under much more pressure than us. It can work in our favour.”

Information from Reuters contributed to this report.