Shropshire Star

Gareth Southgate: England need different match-winners to seal Euro 2024 glory

Jude Bellingham was the star of the show against Serbia on Sunday but England boss Southgate wants others to step up at vital moments.

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Gareth Southgate says England stars will need to step up at different times if they are to win Euro 2024.

This summer’s shot at silverware began with a victory in Gelsenkirchen as Jude Bellingham’s brilliant early header proved enough to beat a robust Serbia side 1-0.

Harry Kane, Phil Foden and, to a lesser extent, Bukayo Saka were quieter than the Real Madrid man, who Southgate said before the tournament could not lead England to Euros glory alone.

The manager reiterated that stance after winning Sunday’s Group C opener as attention turns to Thursday’s match against Denmark in Frankfurt.

Jude Bellingham smiles and celebrates the win over Serbia
Jude Bellingham was the star of the show against Serbia (Adam Davy/PA)

“Not every player can star in every game,” Southgate said. “What’s important is that different people pop up with the moments like Jude did.

“When I go through the history of our big games, there’s always been a different match-winner, a different guy to take the headlines and that’s as it will be if we are going to win a tournament.”

Kane hit his peak at the right time in England’s last two tournaments, failing to score in either group stage before coming up trumps in the knockout phase when scoring six in six.

The 2018 World Cup Golden Boot winner was denied a goal against Serbia by a fine save onto the bar after a first half in which he had minimal involvement.

“I thought second half he did an incredible job holding the ball up,” Southgate said of his skipper. “The number of fouls that he won, got his body across well.

“There isn’t space in that front line for everybody to be on the ball in every moment.

“In the first half Bukayo was obviously prominent. Jude was prominent.

“Trent (Alexander-Arnold) and Phil had moments, so Harry didn’t get as much of the ball but in the second half his performance was absolutely crucial to us getting the win.”

As the focus moves to Denmark there is sure to be further talk about midfield balance as England look to seal progress with a game to spare.

Alexander-Arnold’s role there with Declan Rice and Bellingham against Serbia continues to be analysed, with the right-back turned midfielder starting well against Serbia but became quieter as the team lost control.

“I think the team in the second half didn’t have the same control,” Southgate said. “I thought physically we had players that needed the game.

“We’ve had a lot of players that hadn’t played 90 minutes for a long time. We expended a lot of energy in that first half. I knew that we would dip.

“And it was a good moment to bring Conor (Gallagher) into the game, who can get up to the ball and provide that bit more defensive solidity at that time.”

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