Gareth Southgate urges England fans to ‘get behind the team’ in Germany send-off

Gareth Southgate knows the negativity surrounding him is “not healthy” for the team and urged England fans to vent any frustration on him, not the players, ahead of Monday’s World Cup bye against Germany.

England’s five-game winless streak is their longest since 2014 and Friday’s narrow 1-0 defeat by absence-stricken Italy saw them relegated from the top tier of the Nations League with a game to go.

Monday’s clash against Germany is therefore a dead rubber, but it remains crucial for England to lift spirits and restore confidence in the final game before the World Cup.

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With just 57 days to go before Group B opener against Iran, there is an air of negativity in the team and Southgate says the fans must get behind the players whatever they think of him.

The England manager was shouted at “You’ll be kicked out in the morning” during the 4-0 defeat by Hungary in June’s last home game and then booed by some fans who had traveled to Milan.

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“We have 90,000 spectators, the stadium is sold out,” said Southgate before the Group A3 game on Monday. “People want to come and see this team play.

“That’s because the players have done an incredible job for six years.

“We had a really difficult time in terms of relationship with the fans at the beginning of this Jo

“Slowly we built the (tournament) surfaces that have already been discussed in this room.

“Obviously it’s not healthy for the team to have that noise around them. I totally understand.

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“But it’s up to me to take responsibility, it’s up to me to allow them to go and play. I want them to feel the freedom.

“I think they know that we always talk about it on the training ground and on the training ground.

“I would like to urge the fans to get behind the team. How they deal with me at the end or whenever, on the phone calls or whatever, is very different.

Southgate spoke alongside Raheem Sterling (Zac Goodwin/PA)

(PA wire)

“But this is their last chance to see the boys before they go to the World Cup and we’re all in it together.

“We can only be successful if we are all pushing in the same direction and we all have that positive energy to be good.

“What happens to me is frankly irrelevant. It’s about the team. The most important thing is the team and the success of the team.”

It feels like Monday’s game has a lot to offer for last year’s European runners-up who appear to have lost their way and are struggling for cohesion at the wrong time.

Southgate remains convinced he’s the right person to lead England to the World Cup and confident the team will click in Qatar, but he doesn’t hide from criticism and has long been prepared.

“Look, I’m lucky that I’m unfortunately in my fifties now,” said the former defender, who has 57 caps. “I’ve been in football for 30 years.

“In one form or another, I’ve been to 12 tournaments. Whether it’s working with these guys or scouting.

“This will be my seventh as a player or coach, so I’ve pretty much seen it all.

“I’ve seen the cycle of war with the media. I’ve seen the absolute love-in.

“We’re somewhere in the middle – or maybe not quite in the middle! This is fascinating to watch from my side.

England lost the Euro 2020 final only on penalties (Nick Potts/PA)

(PA Archive)

“And it’s a life experience that I knew would eventually come with this job, so I have to accept that.

“I’ve never gotten too carried away by what happened before and I’m not too down about what’s happening now.

“Of course I want to get it right. I want the team to win, I want the team to play well and I want the fans to be happy. That’s why I took the job.

“I wanted to make a difference in English football so that will never change and I will work on it every hour to try and improve what we do.”

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