Southgate happy with striking strength for Euro quest

Friday 24 Apr 2015
Southgate joined youngsters for an FA Skills session on St. George's Day
Gareth Southgate believes England Under-21s’ striking talent could prove crucial at this summer’s Euro Finals.

The Three Lions head to Czech Republic in June hoping to make a real challenge for the title after an impressive qualifying campaign and some good performances in their subsequent games.

With Premier League regulars Harry Kane, Saido Berahino and Danny Ings all playing a big part during the qualifying stages, there is further strike power in reserve from the Championship with the likes of Middlesbrough's Patrick Bamford, Bournemouth's Callum Wilson and Fulham's Cauley Woodrow also being involved in Southgate’s squad.

UEFA European U21 Championship

The Finals
17-30 June 2015
Czech Republic

And U21s head coach Southgate believes the competition for places and firepower at his disposal can only add to the confidence going into the summer.

"It’s great, I’m very fortunate that everybody is talking about Harry, Patrick and Saido – and we’ve got Danny Ings, Callum Wilson and many others," said Southgate.

"We’ve got a lot of striking talent in this age group and that’s without going into our younger age groups who also have some talent in their groups. 

"That gives you an opportunity of winning games when you go into them."

Most of the recent talk has involved Tottenham Hotspur striker Kane, who recently hit his 30th goal of the season for the north London club.

That form earned him a senior debut last month against Lithuania, but Southgate has said all along that he is confident Kane will be among his squad this summer.

"The most important things for me are the conversations I have with Harry and with Spurs," he revealed.

Harry Kane wheels away in delight after his debut goal

Kane scored his first goal for the England senior team in March

"Harry’s been a big part of our squad from the beginning of the campaign and has established himself as a regular starter for us. 

"Obviously he’s had a fantastic season. I’m sure it’s beyond what he imagined, as much as he’s about self-confidence, I don’t think he would have thought he would have scored 30 goals by this stage, so that’s been great for us to see."

Southgate was speaking at St. George’s Park, where he took part in a special Together For England Roadshow for St. George’s Day.

The former Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough player joined in with an FA Skills session, which left a smile on the faces of all involved. 

"A day like today is great to open it up a little bit more to the local community and all the kids," he added.

England Under-21s boss Gareth Southgate

Southgate's side beat Germany by 3-2 in their last game in March

"The Skills programme is a massive plus for us in terms of engaging young players. It’s not just about establishing future professional players, it also about helping kids enjoy the game and get into football.

"We want them to enjoy football. If they go away and they’ve enjoyed it then there’s a chance that they can play again and that’s how you connect with them. 

"At this age it’s not about looking at who might be future players, it’s about getting the kids active, involved in the game and leaving here with a smile on his face."

By Nicholas Veevers