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England not ready to win Euro 2020 says Gareth Southgate as four superior rivals named


Gareth Southgate has suggested England are not ready to win Euro 2020 after their sluggish goalless draw against neighbours Scotland on Friday. The momentum of the Three Lions’ Euros campaign screeched to a halt as they struggled against the Scots, serving up a dour performance in attack.

England have been heavily criticised for their display at Wembley, which left ITV pundit and ex-international striker Ian Wright “embarrassed”.

Southgate insisted afterwards that he and his players were “frustrated” because they are aware they can play better and they must now beat Czech Republic in their final game to top Group D.

While four points from two games mean England are all but into the first knockout round, finishing second could set up a quarter-final showdown with World Cup holders France.

And England manager Southgate played down any ambitions of winning the tournament, insisting there are four countries a level above his youthful squad in Belgium, France, Portugal and Italy.

“I think I have said before that some teams are at a different point in their development,” the former defender, who made the semi-finals of Euro 1996 with England, said.

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“The run that Italy have had – 28 or 29 games unbeaten – and we know what France and Portugal have done over the last few years and Belgium have been the No 1 team in the world for four years.

“So that’s the level. That’s the standard we’ve got to aspire to. We’re a work in progress. The first step is to qualify from the group and then we’re into the next phase.

“But at this moment we’ve got to get the game against the Czech Republic right.”

England captain Harry Kane has been heavily criticised having yet to score at the Euros, with Raheem Sterling’s goal against Croatia the only time Southgate’s side have found the net thus far.

Kane came into the tournament as the Premier League’s most prolific goalscorer and assist-provider but has been muted on the international stage and has been substituted off in both matches.

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But Southgate says it should be who he takes the blame for a result as disappointing as the one against Scotland, for which the Three Lions were huge favourites in their own national stadium.

He added: “I always look at myself first and in the end when you have a result like that I understand there’s going to be criticism.

“We’ve got to make sure that every aspect of the team, the game and the performance is right and we haven’t been able to do that so Harry hasn’t been able to do that either.”

Southgate hinted however that skipper Kane will keep his starting spot up top for England against the Czechs, having scored 35 times for Spurs and his country since mid-September.

The England boss continued: “It’s always difficult when it’s your captain because he’s player we’ve never had to take off in the past and of course at his club you leave him on in any circumstance.

“But we were trying to pose a different problem and we were running up against a solid defence.

“The first solution wasn’t working and we also have a bench like we have so it was important to try a different way.”


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