‘A great thing’: Southgate hails England’s Wembley return for Denmark semi-final

Gareth Southgate has said that returning to Wembley to feed off a pulsating atmosphere will help England in their Euro 2020 semi-final against Denmark on Wednesday.

England, who are back on home soil after travelling to Rome to beat Ukraine on Saturday, benefited from the backing of their supporters in their last-16 win against Germany last Tuesday and Southgate hopes that playing in front of a 60,000 crowd at Wembley against Denmark will give his side added motivation as they attempt to reach England’s first European Championship final.

“It’s great to be coming back now,” Southgate said. “To go and have that different environment, preparation, focus was definitely helpful. But now to be coming back to Wembley is a great thing for us. It’s not for me to tell the fans how to be or what to be.

“They found a pretty good way of doing that in the last game. So just be as they have been really and in the end the responsibility is on us to play well and affect the emotions in the stadium. But without a doubt the two things fed off each other in the last game. That can only be helpful for the team.”

England lost against Croatia in the last four of the World Cup three years ago but Southgate is confident his players will not struggle with the psychological challenge of playing in a semi-final. “We’ve knocked off so many hoodoos or perceived barriers already and I feel like this group of players will feel this is just the next challenge,” the manager said.

“I guess the interesting part for us is we won’t feel totally satisfied if it’s just a semi-final for us whereas maybe three years ago, although there was massive disappointment, there was a feeling we’d come a long way.

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“Now we’ve replicated what we did there, but that won’t be enough to fulfil the group. That’s a positive sign. The other thing that is so positive, these young players, they’re getting more experiences that are positive and enjoyable.”

Southgate said Bukayo Saka would be fit to face Denmark after missing the win against Ukraine with a minor knock.


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