England hold talks with players over pressure of extra scrutiny of Euro 2024 performances

Gareth Southgate has revealed he has spoken to his England players about the intense scrutiny on their individual performances at Euro 2024 and urged them not to be "thrown off track" by the attention.

Several of Southgate's players, notably Phil Foden, Harry Kane and Trent Alexander-Arnold, have racked up hundreds of column inches since England's opening game, the unconvincing 1-0 win over Serbia on Sunday.

Foden has come in for particular focus after a seemingly subdued display from the left-flank, though Southgate believes the Manchester City forward did "an exceptional job".

Twelve of the England squad are at their first major tournament and the manager addressed to the group on Tuesday night, ahead of the second group game against Denmark, about the need to deal with the intense glare.

"There’s going to be a narrative around a player, a couple of players, after every England game," Southgate said ahead of Thursday's match here in Frankfurt.

"This is a different world to the one you experience at clubs. The players as a collective recognise that now after the last couple of days. We talked with them about it. It’s very rare at their club they’d win a game and experience what they’ve experienced over the last couple of days.

Gareth Southgate wants to guide players through the increased pressure on their performances at Euro 2024 (Various)
Gareth Southgate wants to guide players through the increased pressure on their performances at Euro 2024 (Various)

"I have to make sure I can guide them through that, let them understand it and recognise it’s the reality of our world, but that we shouldn’t be thrown off track by it. We’re in a good position, we know we want to play better, there are lot of things we did really well and we move towards tomorrow’s game."

Kyle Walker, England's oldest player in Germany, understands the focus on the players’ performances but says he pays no attention to the outside noise.

"He [Southgate] had a brief talk with us last night," Walker, 34, said on Wednesday.

"[He said] normally there are 20 other Premier League teams to write about and fill columns about. Now all eyes are on us boys over here representing our country and we are all coming together as one.

"So obviously there is going to be massive scrutiny in certain performances or certain things we do, but I think we cannot take away that we came away from there with three points on the board, a clean sheet and in a good stead for this game against Denmark.

"I very rarely read the media and what things are said, I concentrate on what’s in this camp: what the manager says and what the people around me and teammates are saying.

"When we get that scrutiny we have to take it as a positive because people expect so much of us.

"We know with the quality we have in the dressing room that we can go and score three or four in games but in tournament football it’s about winning the game and move on, really.

"If you were to write good things or bad things about me, if I don’t read it, I don’t react and don’t change my opinion on what I’m going to approach a game like.

“I approach a game as a team game, I approach a game to go and win the game at all costs, and that’s all I care about really.

"I don’t have [social media], I don’t look at anything. Because I feel I’m in here and this is the only little bubble. I feel when you concentrate not on two games or three games time but just one game at a time, I feel that’s when you get the best out of each other.

"When you start listening to outside noise, or good press and bad press, it affects different people in different ways."