Wed 10 Jul 2024, 14:00 · Ash Harrison

Gareth Southgate heaps praise on 'fantastic' Newcastle man ahead of semi-final showdown

Gareth Southgate heaps praise on 'fantastic' Newcastle man ahead of semi-final showdown
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England face their biggest test of Euro 2024 tonight as they come up against the Netherlands in the semi-final.

Given how the Three Lions have played during this tournament it's nothing short of a miracle that they have got this far, and that's despite the fact that, with all due respect to the other nations they've faced, they've not really come up against "top" opposition.

Scraping top spot in Group C meant England avoided the side of the draw that had Germany, France and Spain and instead faced off against Slovakia and then Switzerland.

Both of those games required extra time with the quarter-final against Switzerland needing penalties for England to progress.

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Southgate says Trippier is doing a 'fantastic job'

Netherlands will be by far England's toughest test of the tournament

Tonight England come up against the Netherlands who can boast some top stars among their ranks like Nathan Ake, Cody Gakpo and Xavi Simons.

Speaking to the media (via The Mirror) ahead of the game, Gareth Southgate took time to praise Newcastle United defender Kieran Trippier who has been playing out of position as cover for Luke Shaw.

“Luke has been injured for four months, so it wasn’t a possibility for him to play until the last match. He made a good contribution to the game, so that’s the decision we have to make, whether he’s ready to start, whether that’s the best way to use him. We are very happy to have him back. He obviously gives us balance, different balance with the team, but also Kieran has done a fantastic job.

“He [Trippier] has played on many important nights for us. We have had a lot of big nights over the last seven or eight years. He has been so important on those occasions, but also around the squad, how he is with the rest of the players and the staff, so we are very fortunate to have players like him in our squad.”

Can we please have some attacking impetus tonight, Gareth?

We love the fact that Southgate opens speaks about Luke Shaw not having played football for four months and had no chance of being available until the quarter-final stages and yet he still took him and only him as a recognised left-back. And he wonders why he gets so much grief.

We've all got our fingers crossed for another miracle tonight, and whether that comes in the form of a fluke win or the miracle that Southgate sets up to play to his team's strengths rather than stifling them by trying to put square pegs into round holes, we don't really care.

Come on England! Although, let's be honest, it doesn't matter who wins tonight, they aren't beating that Spain side, are they?