‘If I can’t enjoy this then it’s a waste of time’

‘If I can’t enjoy this then it’s a waste of time’

England manager Gareth Southgate said “if I can’t enjoy this moment then it’s a waste of time” after his side reached the Euro 2024 semi-finals by beating Switzerland 5-3 on penalties.

The Three Lions’ moment of jubilation was made even sweeter for Southgate as he celebrated with supporters following the recent “difficult personal” criticism he has faced in Germany.

“Every now and then surely there has to be some enjoyment in this job,” said the England manager. “I love the players and sharing that moment with them.

“I can’t deny that when it’s [the criticism] as personal as it has been in the last few weeks on a human level, that’s quite difficult.”

England fell behind after 75 minutes, but Bukayo Saka levelled five minutes later to force extra time before victory in the penalty shootout.

Southgate told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I took this job to try and improve English football, to give us nights like this.

“We continue to give people fantastic memories. We will keep enjoying this journey.”

England have now reached their third major tournament semi-final under Southgate’s management.

“Now we want to deliver one more thing – we have never been to a final outside England, never won a Euros, so there are two bits of history we would love to create,” he said.

‘Resilient’ England have ‘attributes’ of winning sides

Southgate praised the “resilience” his team has shown at Euro 2024 to find a way to get results and keep progressing through the knockouts.

“There is what we ideally want to be and there is how we have found ways with all the obstacles, different challenges, all the way through,” he said.

Southgate added that the current group have continued to win in a way previous England teams haven’t.

“With England it was often start 25 minutes really well, go ahead in games and then out in the early knockout rounds. We weren’t savvy or tournament wise. This group are different. They keep possession for longer periods.”

The England boss added that his team have the “attributes” of a winning side.

He said: “We haven’t always got it right but in general we have shown the resilience that teams that win tournaments have had for years – Italy, France, Spain… it is not all pure football, it is other attributes they have had.”

‘Moving in an upwards direction’ – what the pundits said

Former England defender Rio Ferdinand, speaking on BBC One: “I am looking at the team and in tournament football we are doing the right thing – we are moving in an upwards direction.

“Today wasn’t perfect but it was such an improvement. Then it was nerves of steel when it mattered. I had no doubt in my mind.”

Former England midfielder Izzy Christiansen, speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live: “England are getting incrementally better. There are so many questions this team have been asked.

“But imagine playing beautiful football and being beaten on penalties. It goes to nothing. There is character, resilience, a will to win and energy. These things can carry you a long way.

“You have got to be talking about them now to be in the final, perhaps, from what we have seen.”

Former England defender Micah Richards, speaking on BBC One: “We want to talk positively about England.

“We are on the front foot and everyone seems together – that is important.”

Former England striker Alan Shearer, speaking on BBC One: “The emotions the England team will be going through – they’ll be ecstatic and so they should. They’ve put an incredible shift in.

“A big shout-out to the manager – his preparation was absolutely key. The players he brought on to take penalties, they were just perfect.

“We know how pressurised that situation is and they made it look so easy.”

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