areth Southgate has called on England fans to get behind the team at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday night, saying they will be more successful with the fans’ support.
Jordan Henderson was booed from parts of the National Stadium in Friday’s friendly win over Australia – his first appearance on English soil since moving to Saudi Arabia in the summer – while the out-of-form Harry Maguire was also targeted by a minority of England fans the past.
England can book their place at next summer’s European Championships in Germany with victory over Italy on Tuesday and Southgate says they will be stronger with the fans at their side.
“At the end of the day, everyone who comes onto a football pitch pays their money and has the right to react however they want,” said the England coach. “We would love the fans with us.” We are stronger when they are with us. We have more energy when they are with us. And the team will progress if they are by our side.
“But if not, we’ll keep going and keep trying to win football games.”
Kyle Walker has suggested that Southgate is still not getting the recognition he deserves and believes there is too much focus on “the boos and what we didn’t do rather than what we did achieve”.
However, Southgate says he does not feel that he and the England team are being underestimated in the country.
“When I travel, people are very complimentary and supportive of the team, so I don’t feel that way,” he said.
“People enjoyed the games and the journey with us. Fabulous evenings. We have had a few isolated incidents where people disagreed with certain decisions and this resulted in individual players being stuck. But no, I don’t feel that way.”
England have played Italy three times since losing in the final of the last European Championship, but Tuesday night sees the teams’ first reunion at Wembley Stadium.
Walker, who joined Southgate at the pre-match press conference, said England are looking for “revenge” and the coach believes his side have evolved since the painful penalty defeat to the Azzurri.
“Everyone who played that night is still available, so two years more experience and lots of big games with us and with their clubs,” Southgate said.
“More examples of victories with their clubs and some big victories with us too. So they continue to evolve and now look at these types of games with a lot more confidence. In the last twelve months we have been able to play more aggressively in our game.
“And part of that is also the development of one or two players. And the spirit of the group also becomes closer and stronger through all these shared experiences.”
Southgate also believes he has improved as a coach since July 2021 and would be better equipped if England reach the European Championship final again next summer.
“Of course you manage big games in every game you manage, in one of the highest profile jobs in football, so of course like any manager you improve every day if you are one of those people who want to improve and think about things.” ,” he said.
“I’m sure every coach would say that he is better than he was six months ago, that he knows more, is more experienced and has experienced more situations. So if you don’t improve, I would question what you’re really doing.”
“You just get used to different environments. I’ve never made it to a European final before, so the next final I’m in I’ll have a different reference and more experience. It’s that simple. You can only gain experience by being there “these moments.”