Published On: Wed, Jul 10th, 2024
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Keir Starmer’s advice to Gareth Southgate ahead of semi-final | Politics | News

Sir Keir Starmer tempted fate by joking that the England team had a perfect record on penalties under his government.

Ahead of tonight’s semi-final, the Prime Ministersaid his advice to manager Gareth Southgate was: “Win!”

Sir Keir, who is i Washington for the Nato summit, said he hoped aides would pass him notes during his meetings with world leaders to update him on the score on gthe match against the Netherlands,

He told reporters: “I understand our phones are all taken off us when we go into the Council, so I’ve no doubt we’ll be passed lots of notes with really important information about the summit, and one or two of those notes hopefully will be an update on the score, because I’m not going to be able to get it otherwise.

“I’ve sent a message to the team, obviously I wish them well, I want them to win, and let’s hope they can do it tomorrow.”

Asked about Bukayo Saka’s sensational quarter-final equaliser against Switzerland, he said: “That was classic Bukayo cuts in from the right and that shot is absolutely classic – inside of the post – I’ve seen it so many times.

“And I’d remind you, England have not missed a penalty under a Labour government in 2024.”

Sir Keir is hoping to find a few spare minutes to watch the match in between meetings.

Southgate says England are ready to make history by reaching a first final on foreign soil.

After topping their group, the Euro 2020 runners-up needed a stunning Jude Bellingham strike to save their blushes against Slovakia before beating Switzerland on penalties.

England are now preparing for a third semi-final in four major tournaments, with Ronald Koeman’s Netherlands standing between them and a second successive European Championship final.

Southgate has been criticised for his team’s style despite getting this far and the manager revealed the negative mood around the team impacted the players during the group stage.

“There’s been a definite shift,” the England boss said on the eve of the Signal Iduna Park showdown.

“I was really interested (because) as a coach sometimes you take a step back and you observe.

“One of the strengths of us over the last seven, eight years has been less fear, less inhibition.

“But I think at the beginning of the tournament, the expectation weighed quite heavily and of course the external noise was louder than it’s ever been.”

“I felt we couldn’t quite get ourselves in the right place and, in the end, what was impressive was that the players ground it out, they ground results out and found ways to win,” he added.

“I felt that shifted once we got into the knockout stage and definitely in the quarter-final. I thought we saw a better version of us with the ball, freer.

“I’m not sure any of the messaging changed, but I just felt the group changed.

“You’re now into that moment in the tournament where it’s what’s possible, what’s achievable, rather than what might go wrong.

“This is now the chance to make history, which we’ve enjoyed doing.

“A chance to get to a first final not held in England – first time England will have ever done that.”

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