Gareth Southgate insists England can NOT take their foot off the gas despite already qualifying for Euro 2024… as Three Lions boss challenges his side to become No.1 rank in the world

  • England have qualified for Euro 2024 ahead of their clash with Macedonia
  • National team boss Southgate insists his side cannot take their foot off the accelerator
  • Southgate’s loyalty to his players is a problem and a weakness: it all comes into play

Gareth Southgate has warned his England players that anyone who slows down just because they have qualified for Euro 2024 risks missing out on the tournament as he has set them the target of becoming the No. 1 ranked country in the world become.

The Three Lions head into qualifying against North Macedonia here in Skopje on Monday evening, with a pot-one result for the European Championship all but assured. Two more friendly matches will follow in March before the selection for the final is announced.

And when Southgate was asked about players taking their foot off the accelerator, he said: ‘Why (would they do that)? What are we trying to do? Why would we accept that?

‘Just like this weekend (2-0 win over Malta), we have a chance that some players can grow. I talked about Marc Guehi and Trent Alexander-Arnold after the game (I’m doing well). We also brought Cole Palmer into the game.

“I can’t imagine any other environment where you would think, ‘Let’s check out these gams.’ Maybe that’s why we haven’t gotten where we needed to be as a team in the past.’

England secured a 2-0 win over Malta despite already qualifying for Euro 2024

Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate has urged his side not to take their foot off the accelerator

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Marcus Rashford in particular was below par against Malta and Southgate was asked about the Manchester United striker.

“We clearly have good competition for places in the wide positions,” he said. ‘All our players must be aware that they have to play well. In three matches we have to select a selection for the European Championship.’

England could end the calendar year at number three in the FIFA rankings – their previous record is fourth – but Southgate is aiming even higher.

“We may be third in the world rankings at the moment, but we are two places away from where we need to be, so we can’t waste games,” he added. ‘If we want to be a top team, the performance level has to be right every time.

‘Yes (FIFA No. 1 is an ambition), because in the end you achieve that through consistency and you have to play well in the tournaments because the ranking points are higher.

‘Moreover, it determines daily behavior on the training field, but also outside the training field. If you want to be the top ranked team, there is no room for sloppiness or carelessness. That must be our motivation.’

England are without Kieran Trippier, who has returned to Newcastle for personal reasons, while West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen remained in England after suffering a muscle problem in training, although Southgate does not believe the problem is ‘anything serious’.


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