Gareth Southgate thanked England’s unused substitutes for the role they’re playing in maintaining the ‘phenomenal’ team spirit on Saturday evening, following the Three Lions’ 4-0 thrashing of Ukraine.
A Harry Kane brace and goals from Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson propelled England into the semi-finals of Euro 2020, with the players on the pitch delivering the most convincing display of the tournament so far.
But Southgate was quick to praise his stars who weren’t involved in the match, thanking them for creating a ‘phenomenal’ team spirit, even after suffering the disappointment of missing out on the matchday squad.
“The players have been fantastic and to play as well as they did in a game where there’s so much resting on it was really impressive,” Southgate told BBC Sport.
“It’s a strange feeling. I’m actually at this moment just thinking about the lads we didn’t get on the pitch. Because the likes of Conor Coady, Ben Chilwell, Sam Johnstone and Aaron Ramsdale, they are the ones that are making this team successful because the spirit of the group is phenomenal.
“And whoever comes in does the job, and whoever isn’t in – which is really difficult to have to leave three out of the squad every time.
“And the squad mentality has been fantastic, so at the moment that’s sort of uppermost in my mind of looking after those guys. I’m spending more energy worrying about the three I have to leave out because they’re all good players. None of them deserve to be left out.
“They’re all giving everything in training. None of it is because I don’t think they’re up to the level but we have to make the decisions.
“We have to make the right call for the right game with the right system. All of the players have been brilliant, tonight all the way through the group they’ve been fantastic.”
England will now return to Wembley from Rome, in preparation for their huge Euro 2020 semi-final clash with Denmark on Wednesday evening, when they’ll be hoping to book their place in the European final for the first time in the nation’s history.