Following the virus-hit season and the postponement of the much awaited football event in Europe, England national team manager Gareth Southgate is “hoping his England team can help to further unite the nation over the next year as they resume their preparations for EURO 2020.” The Three Lions are set to return to the pitch in September when they begin a new UEFA Nations League campaign.
The 32-team European Championship, in celebration of the governing body’s 60th anniversary, was due to be taking place between June 12 and July 12 in countries all across the continent. “We’ve always talked about the team in how it unites people and bringing happiness and taking people’s minds away from the day-to-day,” Southgate said when asked about the effect of the pandemic to sports.
“We’re going to go through a difficult period as a country, we’ve been through a tough period medically and we’re clearly going to have a tough period economically as well and that’s going to affect everybody,” Southgate added. Southgate and his staff have been keeping up on the games since professional football restarted in June, but without having to attend the matches physically.
The Three Lions are set to have their first match at home as they neighbours Wales in an international friendly at Wembley in October. The game will form part of October’s triple header international break and will be played behind closed doors following the current government guidelines on the coronavirus crisis. England’s last home game was the heavy 7-0 win against Montenegro in November 2019.
“Sport is less important than some of the things that have been happening, and will happen, but it does have the power to inspire and put a smile on people’s faces as we’ve seen with the clubs who have won championships and been promoted,” Southgate said. “You see the impact football can have and on a national level, we’d love to be able to do that.”
England were set to play friendlies against Italy, Denmark, Austria and Romania during the first part of this year, but all matches were cancelled due to the threat of the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, Wales have not played since beating Hungary 2-0 at Cardiff City Stadium in November, a result that sealed their place at the postponed Euro 2020.
With Euro 2020 postponed for a year, Gareth Southgate has plenty of time to assemble the best team in Europe. Over the years, England’s XI has always been the star studded squad as the Three Lions recruit powerhouse players and some of the most important names in European football like Harry Kane, Marcus Rashfor and Raheem Sterling.