Southgate backs Riverside crowd to inspire Three Lions

Sunday 29 Mar 2015
Southgate saw his side beat Czech Republic in Prague last Friday
England Under-21s boss Gareth Southgate is hoping an expected crowd of 30,000 can help inspire his team to victory over Germany at the Riverside Stadium.

The former Middlesbrough manager returns to his old club on Monday night with a confident team, fresh from a 1-0 victory over Czech Republic on Friday.

And with another fellow Euro finalist, and one of the favourites for success this summer, forming the opposition, Southgate believes it will be another big challenge for his squad.

England v Germany

U21s International Match
7.45pm, Monday 30 March 2015
The Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough
Live on BT Sport

"I’m looking forward to the game, it’s a great test for us as a team. It’s the next step in terms of preparation and we’ve got a super crowd coming in," he said from the squad’s Teesside base.

"That certainly adds something for the players and we’re really focused on performing in the way and style that we have, so it will be interesting to see how we cope against another top team.

"We’ve had some different challenges over the last couple of weeks, but the Czech leg of this week was excellent in terms of preparing for the summer."

Southgate and his squad have now been together for more than a week, as they start to really focus on this summer’s Euro trip back to Czech Republic.

And the former Boro captain has promised changes to his line-up from the side which beat the Czechs in Prague on Friday.

"We’re freshening the side up from the other night and I think it’s important that everyone starts a game and we still look a strong team so I’m looking forward to seeing us play," he revealed.

Watch highlights of Friday's win over the Czechs in Prague

"They have belief in the way they work and their ability. We’ve picked some matches both this month and last November to test them and stretch us in different ways, so it’s not just about the result.

"The result the other night was good and there were some really positive things in the way we played the ball at times, but then there were other things that we think we could have done better and managed the game a bit better.

"All of these things against good sides help boost the confidence."

Monday’s game will bring to a close a run of four matches against top-notch opposition since Euro qualification was secured last October.

The Three Lions have faced two fellow finalists in the shape of Portugal and Czech Republic and won both, but came unstuck against a French team in November who won’t be at the Euros.

"Having seen the eight teams that are in the finals, they are all strong," admitted Southgate. 

Gareth Southgate

Southgate was a former captain and manager at Middlesbrough

"Germany played Italy the other night and that was a very tight game.

"We’ve already played Portugal and I don’t see any matches with the teams being particularly weaker than the others.

“They all play in slightly different styles and have slightly different tactical challenges, but I think this game will be of a similar level to the one we had the other night.

"We’ve got a confident team. We talk about opposition and areas in which we can hurt them or areas which we should be conscious of, but we don’t talk about the opposition too much.

"We feel we’re very competitive against any team in Europe, we’re confident and it’s a real focus on what we do."

Watch the England U21s squad practice their shooting ahead of the game with Germany.


By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels in Teesside