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England boss Gareth Southgate has tried to play down mounting expectation levels by insisting: “We’ve done nothing yet.”
Southgate is well aware of the growing Euros fever gripping the country after England’s win over Croatia which sets up Friday night’s Battle of Britain showdown with Scotland.
It will evoke memories of Euro 96, Scotland the visitors at Wembley, the excitement levels building and England hosting games in a major tournament.
But Southgate has insisted he still views his squad as young and inexperienced and is trying to play things down but says they can handle the pressure.
Southgate said: “We’ve had a good day against Croatia and a good performance, but we know what football is and we know how sport works. We haven’t achieved our first objective yet.
Gareth Southgate has dampened the expectations around England
“So it’s really pleasing that everybody outside is happy and we can go home, back to St George’s, pleased with the day’s work. But we have to move to the next. Of course, expectations are always going to be there. We have to handle that.
“But as long as that’s realistic, you saw the age of the team, the number of caps compared to the opponent against Croatia, we’re still growing and learning and to be able to bring boys like Jude into that environment is also hugely encouraging.
“It was a good day. We know we have to start again now. Of course the win means there’s less drama for the next week and we can focus calmly on our training and preparing and get back to St George’s and get on with it.
“That can be very different if the performance isn’t good and if the result goes the other way.
“It’s nice to have confidence from the performance but we’ve got to have the same hunger, the same desire, find that same state going into that game on Friday.
“Totally different challenge. Big opposition and we haven’t achieved our objective of qualifying yet. A lot for us to do.”