ENGLAND boss Gareth Southgate has heaped praise on four Three Lions fringe players who he says are responsible for his team’s Euro 2020 success.
Southgate’s men smashed Ukraine 4-0 to march on to their first European semi-final since 1996 and the heroic manager hailed the ‘phenomenal group spirit’ after the win.
Goals from Harry Kane (2), Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson wrapped up England’s win in Rome.
Such was the easy nature of the win, Southgate was able to take off some of his star players to rest them ahead of Wednesday’s Wembley clash with Denmark.
But there are still some stars who have hardly featured and Southgate said it’s their attitudes that have helped the team succeed on the pitch.
Speaking after his side’s fifth consecutive clean sheet in the tournament, Southgate said: “The players have been fantastic and to play as well as they did in a game where there’s so much resting on it is really impressive.
“It’s a strange feeling but I’m actually at this moment thinking of the lads we didn’t get on the pitch.
“The likes of Conor Coady, Ben Chilwell, Sam Johnstone, Aaron Ramsdale, they are the ones who are making this team successful because the spirit of the group is phenomenal.
“Whoever comes in does the job. Whoever isn’t in – which is really difficult because I have to leave three out the squad every time.
“The squad mentality has been fantastic. So at the moment that’s been uppermost in my mind looking at those guys.
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“I’m spending more energy worrying about the three I have to leave out the 26 because they’re all good players.
“None of them deserve to be left out. They’re all giving everything in training so none of it is because I don’t think they’re up to the level.
“But we have got to make those decisions and we have got to make the right calls for the right game and the right system.
“But all of the players have been brilliant and tonight, right the way through the group, everyone has been fantastic.”
Southgate was speaking live to the BBC punditry team and Alan Shearer asked him if he was able to enjoy the experience like ‘everyone at home’.
And a laughing Southgate said: “Not really Alan. But look its fabulous. I suppose it’s still sinking in a bit.
“We’re in another semi-final, that’s three in three years. But uppermost in my mind again is we want to go two steps further.
“I know what will be happening at home and that’s great. It’s lovely to send everybody on a Saturday night, beer in hand, in the air wherever it is.
“And they should. They should enjoy it. It’s been a long year for everybody and I’m chuffed the two performances we’ve put on have brought so much enjoyment and happiness to people.”
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