Southgate: U21s have 'opportunity' to impress Sam Allardyce

Monday 05 Sep 2016
Gareth Southgate and Sam Allardyce chat at St.George's Park

Gareth Southgate believes the presence of new England boss Sam Allardyce is an opportunity for all of his Under-21s squad.

The Three Lions face Norway in a Euro Qualifier at Colchester on Tuesday evening, with Allardyce and his assistant Sammy Lee set to watch on from the stand.

And U21s head coach Southgate believes it can only help to inspire his players as they look to take a step closer to next summer’s Euro Finals in Poland with a win.

England v Norway

UEFA European U21 Championship
Group 9 Qualifier
5.45pm, Tuesday 6 September 2016
Colchester Community Stadium
Tickets: £10 adults & £5 concessions

"For all of the lads, it’s a chance with a new senior manager coming in," admitted Southgate, who has two players with senior caps in his squad in the shape of Calum Chambers and Marcus Rashford.

"It’s a fresh start and it’s somebody else that they have to impress.

"Talking to them during the week, there’s only two or three of them here who have the same club manager as they did last season.

"So, that’s a challenge that they’ll have to get used to, as you’re always having to show what you can do and there’s never a time when you set foot on a field that you don’t have to prove yourself.

"I don’t think there’s any additional pressure, for all of them it’s an opportunity."

With just three games remaining in the group and England sitting in top spot, Southgate’s side know that a win will put them in a strong position to qualify.

The Three Lions end the campaign next month with a trip to Kazakhstan and then facing Bosnia & Herzegovina in Walsall, just a year on from when they kicked-off the group, ironically against Norway.

England Under-21s head coach Gareth Southgate smiles during training at St. George

England Under-21s head coach Gareth Southgate smiles during training at St. George's Park

And that was a tough game which Southgate’s side edged thanks to James Ward-Prowse’s penalty, so the head coach knows Tuesday’s match won’t be a pushover.

"This game is key in terms of the qualification, but then they all have been as it’s only a five-team group so it has plenty resting on it," he explained.

"The standard of the group that we’re in compared to last time is much higher.

"Switzerland and Norway have been a really good challenge and we’ve had a lot of changes so it’s not been without its complications.

"But at the moment, we’re in a good position and I think we can improve on what we’ve done so far.

"They’ve [Norway] got some very talented players, so we don’t want to give them as much joy in the middle of the park as we gave them out there.

"I think it’s something that we’ve developed over the year and that was a game when we’d only had a week working with a new team.

"The big challenge for our lads, after some success in the summer [winning the Toulon Tournament] the recognition for that, is winning after winning.

"I have no concerns about that as there is no complacency and real competition for places and I’m really impressed with them as a group as they set high standards and push each other.

"They want success as a team and they enjoy coming together as a group of players and they also want to play in the biggest games and win, so they’re a great group to work with."

Tickets for the game cost £10 for adults and £5 for concessions and are available on the night at the Colchester Community Stadium.

By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels