Southgate demands England players maintain intensity to keep places

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The Three Lions boss wants a certain mentality heading into the summer's Euros and will change up his squad if necessary to get it

Gareth Southgate has warned he will not tolerate any drop in intensity from players in the England squad and will replace any one who switches off.

The England boss is set to lead his squad in Euro 2020 qualification against Bulgaria on Saturday, followed by a match against Kosovo on Tuesday.

Having made successive tournament semi-finals between the World Cup and Nations League, and currently leading qualifying group A despite having played just two games, Southgate expects England to qualify for the Euros with ease.

And as a result, he is requiring intensity in training as well as in matches from his players in order to properly prepare them for this summer's tournament.

“We need to keep ramping up the pressure,” Southgate told reporters.

“We know we won’t have as many high-pressure experiences in the next eight months or so, unless we start to make problems for ourselves with qualifying.

“So we have to bring that intensity to every training session. We’ve decided we need to challenge everybody more and more, not accept any taking the foot off the gas.

“The players understand that challenge, they want the challenge. I must not overreact to everything that happened that night against Holland (in the Nations League semi-final) - but we made too many errors in a big game.

“We know we will improve if our work’s right and our mentality is right.

“You have to constantly improve, tweak different patterns, constantly improve the detail. All the time, you’ve got to be on top of all of those things.”

Kyle Walker England

England’s battle for places has grown highly competitive over the past year, with youth internationals pressing for places in the first team, displacing veterans.

Jadon Sancho and Trent Alexander-Arnold are two of the young players who have broken through, with Kyle Walker losing out on a place this time around.

And Southgate believes that the intense comptition for places will prove motivator enough for his players in the matches to come.

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“The players have their own motivation. But in the end, competition for places is a pretty good motivator,” Southgate said.

“If you know there are people that can come into the team, that there are decisions with one player or the other and form and fitness at any given time that can determine who gets in.

“The younger guys now are after the older ones - the older ones are still proud and want to stay in, and that’s a really healthy situation.”

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