Southgate hopes Toulon victory gives England a Euro boost

Monday 06 Jun 2016
England Under-21s head coach Gareth Southgate watches his side in the Toulon Tournament final.

As England head to France this summer, Gareth Southgate is hoping his Under-21s can provide some inspiration on winning across the Channel.

It’s been just over a week since Southgate’s side lifted the Toulon Tournament title in the south of France, beating the host nation in last Sunday’s final.

And Roy Hodgson’s squad flew to their Euro 2016 base in Chantilly on Monday morning, after three successive victories in their warm-up games over the last two weeks, aiming to pick up where the U21s left off.

Gareth Southgate and Kasey Palmer celebrate victory in the Toulon Tournament.

Southgate congratulates U21s forward Kasey Palmer on victory in Toulon

"A lot of those [senior squad] boys were with us a year ago and we're looking forward to supporting them and hoping they can go as far as they can,” said Southgate, who will be back in France for the Euros in a scouting capacity.

"So, if in some way we have given them a little boost, then brilliant.

"We had some really nice messages from the seniors before the game last week, some of whom were with us last year."

Regardless of whether Hodgson’s side can replicate the U21s by coming home with the trophy, Southgate believes there is encouragement to be had for the future.

From Hodgson’s 23-man Euro squad, 19 of those have emerged through the U21s squad previously with Raheem Sterling, Eric Dier, John Stones, Harry Kane and Dele Alli all having featured under Southgate more recently.

And the former Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough defender is hoping that those involved in Toulon will keep that winning mentality, attitude and ambition for next season. 

With the initial focus set on reaching and succeeding in the European U21 Championship in Poland next summer, the head coach also wants to see his players take that momentum back to their clubs and force themselves into first-team reckoning.

FATV were in Avignon to capture the Under-21s squad winning the Toulon Tournament

"I think from my point of view, I hope the individuals and collective group benefit moving forwards," he explained.

"I think it is a shot in the arm for youth development in our country, which always gets knocked.

"Our belief is that we do have good players - they need an opportunity to play and a lot of these boys haven't been playing.

"That is some of the motivation I give them, to 'go show people what you're capable of'.

"It's always in their own hands really and I think they will take great confidence from having got through a final and all that required.

"I think it will inspire them, I think it will inspire others to want to be a part of it.”

England kick-off their Euro 2016 campaign on Saturday evening when they face Russia in Marseille in their opening group game.

By Nicholas Veevers