England will start their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign on Thursday with a challenging match against reigning champions Italy. They begin their pursuit to win a major tournament for the first time since 1966. Gareth Southgate has decided to remain in charge as the manager of the England national team
After considering his future following England’s World Cup quarter-final loss to France in December, Gareth Southgate has decided to remain for a fourth attempt at winning a major championship.
The Gareth Southgate Effect
Gareth Southgate has brought about a remarkable turnaround in the international success of England during his tenure as manager. England has reached the quarter-final, semi-final, and final stages in their last three major tournaments. Therefore, failing to end a 58-year trophy drought in Germany next year would be considered a letdown, rather than an accomplishment. Gareth Southgate has expressed apprehension over the diminishing number of English players. Who consistently play in the Premier League. However, he also recognizes that he currently has an abundance of extraordinarily gifted players available for selection. Therefore, the concern about the long-term impact remains.
Two of the brightest young talents in world football were proven to be Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka and Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham in Qatar.
Harry Kane will become England’s leading scorer in history when he scores his next goal for his country. Erik ten Hag is finally realizing Marcus Rashford’s potential at Manchester United.
Rashford’s injury will cause him to miss the opening two qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine this week. However, Southgate has multiple options, with Phil Foden and Jack Grealish from Manchester City competing for a place in the side.
However, Southgate has only secured one knockout win against one of the major nations in international football. Which was the victory over Germany in the last 16 of Euro 2020, despite the progress made under him.
England Vs Italy
The Three Lions outplayed France for much of their meeting in the quarter-finals in Doha three months ago. But still came up short when it mattered.
“These are the sorts of games where we have to show we can go to these places and win,” said Southgate on the prospect of facing Italy .
Italy defeated England on penalties in the Euro 2020 final held on home soil. England was unable to defeat Roberto Mancini’s team in two matches during the Nations League before the World Cup.
The Three Lions did not win a single game in their Nations League campaign but were still able to bounce back close to their best once the World Cup came around.
And Southgate is wary of another drop off in standards during a qualifying process with little jeopardy for the major nations thanks to the expansion of the European Championship to 24 teams.
The top two from a group also containing Ukraine, North Macedonia and Malta will automatically qualify.
“That is the big challenge we have got. To go to a World Cup, everyone wanted to be there and the fight for places was immense, the hunger was there and it was clear. Now you have to start again,” added Southgate.