Despite relying on youths, England will be “hugely competitive” at Euro 2020, says Southgate. It is the case of “when and not if.”
Harry Kane scored a hat-trick on Thursday as the Three Lions thrashed Montenegro 7-0. England sealed the top spot in Group A.
England’s line up was the youngest since 1959. Nonetheless, Southgate has consistently shown thrust in young prospects and hopes it will reap rewards.
He says, “You can never tell because you just don’t know who is going to be available, who is going the be on form.”
“We have got a fairly settled squad. But obviously, there are players who have been with us in the last 18 months. They are still in our thinking.”
“We are always learning about the players more in the really big matched and the really high-pressure games.”
“But we feel the team against Montenegro was extremely young. We have got to get the balance right with that. But these, in most cases, are our best players we think.”
“Although next summer is going to be before a lot of the peak, we can still be hugely competitive and our challenge is to be able to compete as we find a way to compete in Russia with a squad that is very exciting.”
The door still open for Alli and Foden
Southgate is clear what England’s best team would be if he had to pick it tomorrow. However, he is aware he has to juggle his desire to keep a settled side with adaptability.
The Three Lions boss used Alex Oxlade, Chamberlain who capped his first start since March 2018 with a goal against Montenegro as an example after a knee injury denied him the chance to play a key role at the World Cup.
“The good thing is we have got really good options in every position.” Says Southgate.
“and that is the key because you will all remember plenty of tournaments where we have had a key injury on the eve of the tournament and then we have all been in meltdown about what might happen. So, there is some strength in depth.”
Southgate is not ruling out players that are currently out of favor but have played a part before.
He says, “It is a case of when, rather than if.”
There is no doubt that the likes of Alli and Foden would love to be involved next summer with the country sure to be gripped as at Euro 96 with England’s three group games, one last-16 match, both semi-finals and the final all to be played at Wembley.
Southgate impressed with goals scored
The England manager said he has been impressed by the team’s goal-scoring ability.
“I used to look at Germany in qualification and they were racking up sixes and sevens and we used to be struggling to break down teams who played with a low block.”