Southgate ready for Euro Finals draw in Czech Republic

Sunday 02 Nov 2014
Southgate will be in Prague for the Euro draw on Thursday
England Under-21s boss Gareth Southgate heads to Prague later this week to learn his side’s opponents at next summer’s Euro Finals.

The draw takes place in the Czech capital on Thursday, where Southgate’s side are top seeds following their impressive qualification and previous record in this competition over the years.

England U21s v Portugal U21s

International U21 Match
7.45pm, Thursday 13 November 2014
Turf Moor, Burnley FC
Live on BT Sport
Call 01282 700003 for tickets

And Southgate is heading to the draw with an open mind, as eight teams prepare to compete for the crown of European Champions next June.

"We're not too concerned with who we draw," said Southgate.

"Czech Republic are the hosts and we're the top seeds, after Spain and Holland didn't qualify. 

"We can't draw the Czechs, but will get either Germany or Italy in our group, and then two from the other four, who are Portugal, Denmark, Sweden and Serbia. 

"We know there are some good sides, but we're confident, we have a good group of players, we're not fearful.

"I'm excited to see who we are going to get, we are not fearful of anyone, but by the same token I know there are some good teams going.

"It's an exciting time for us and that's great credit to Stuart [Pearce, previous Under-21s head coach], and the fact we've now qualified for the last five tournaments, no other nation has done that."

Watch Gareth Southgate's message to his squad after sealing Euro qualification


Ever since Southgate saw his side qualify for the Finals after a play-off victory against Croatia last month, focus has been shifted to preparation for next summer.

And a game against fellow Finalists Portugal at Turf Moor before a trip to face France will be the ideal for the squad when they meet up next week.

"We play Portugal at Burnley next week and they are as good as anyone in the tournament," added Southgate.

"There are some very good teams in this competition. Sides like Spain, France and Holland have gone out in the play-offs, so we expect all the teams to be very good. 

"The key for us now is how we improve between now and June. We have ten days together this month, ten days in March and ten to 15 days in June. 

"It's not an enormous amount of time and we need to get better in that period, not just tread water and wait for it to come. 

"Part of that will be the experience of playing Portugal and France this month, and we are also planning to play Germany in March and the Czechs, who'll host the Finals. 

"We feel we need to test ourselves against the best and if we lose matches we'll learn from it. 

"But it will also be the work we do around that and we are just looking forward to being able to start planning ahead to the tournament and, as a coach, that is one of the exciting bits, plotting ahead for the next six months."

So with the confidence gained from the qualifying campaign, Southgate is now hoping to see a big crowd behind his side at Turf Moor for what should be a real test for his side.

Gareth Southgate celebrates with goalkeeping coach Martin Thomas

Southgate and his staff celebrate their qualification in Croatia


"The fixtures over the next two international get-togethers are really important to us," he explained.

"We need stronger tests if you have players at the level we have. 

"We’ve had good crowds for our games and people have enjoyed themselves when they’ve been to see us. 

“We’re conscious for our development teams, the Under-21s are a flagship, so we want to do well because it creates momentum for everyone else. 

“With the U17s winning the Euros earlier this year, we all want to emulate that. The aspirational thing is very important and that club environment, fostered at St. George’s Park, really helps.”

Tickets for the game at Turf Moor cost just £10 for adults and £5 for concessions. Call 01282 700003 for more details.

Click here to apply for group bookings for 15 people or more (no age restrictions and bookable in advance only): £5 adults and £2.50 concessions.

And Charter Standard clubs clubs can apply for group bookings via the attached form here.

By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels