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11th Jun 2022

Gareth Southgate fires back at England critics over style of play

Callum Boyle

England have been criticised for their performances against Hungary and Germany

England boss Gareth Southgate has hit back at criticism over the Three Lions’ “defensive” style of play while also reiterating that he will not “outstay his welcome” as manager.

Southgate has been one of England’s most successful managers in recent history having guided the nation to a World Cup semi final, a Nations League semi final and the final of last summer’s European Championships, but has often been told he approaches games too cautiously.

Gareth Southgate England

‘You’ve got to have a balance of the team, this is top-level football’

But the 51-year-old defended his approach to games and said that it is important that the team remains balanced at the highest level of football.

“Look, I’ve got to find a balance because I don’t want to sit and be defensive but some people have managed teams and others haven’t,” he said.

“Of course for the man who comes and stands on the terrace and in old terms pays his money, I totally understand he wants to see a Grealish with a (Raheem) Sterling, with a (Bukayo) Saka…but you’ve got to have a balance of the team, this is top-level football.

“It is not nice when you are on the receiving end, of course not. You file it, you use it to motivate yourself and you totally understand it is part and parcel of being a manager.”

Gareth Southgate England

‘I think I can do a good job for the team’

With criticism coming in from some supporters, the future of Southgate has been questioned and the England boss has said he will not stay if he feels like he is no longer supported by the players.

He added: “I won’t outstay my welcome but I think I can do a good job for the team and I think we’ve done a good job for the team.

“If you look back I have always said it. I am not going to be here forever am I? There will be another England manager.

“But that’s how I have always felt about it. The major part of that is how the players are. Do I still feel the players give everything and respond to what we do? Yes I do!”

England face Italy at Molineux on Saturday night with the game being played behind closed doors – bar the exception of 3,000 school children – after UEFA hit the Football Association with a two-match ban for the behaviour of fans at the Euro 2020 final.

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