Euro 2020: ‘My message to the English team – enjoy every minute of these moments’ – Alan Shearer


Alan Shearer

My message to the players of England as they prepare for the semi-finals of Euro 2020 is quite simple – everyone is behind you, so enjoy every minute.

I’m talking about the game against Denmark on Wednesday, but also my noise and excitement and everything else that will be happening across the country in the next few days.

In the field, the team just has to keep doing what they are doing. Without it, they must try to accept it all.

I was here myself, the last time we got to this stage of the 1996 European Men’s Championship. I remember jumping out of a team hotel and going to get a haircut (yes, I had hair) and getting out of a taxi downtown Burnham , there was some kind of street party going on.

And this time there will be more of the same. You can’t escape the atmosphere, but then you don’t really want to – it’s an amazing feeling, knowing that the whole nation supports you on such a big stage.

The team is back on home soil by the end of the tournament and will be fucked when they head to Wembley.

It was rocking when there were 40,000 fans there for the game of Germany in the last 16, and things will increase the semi-finals by another 60,000.

Come on, because I can’t wait.

‘Nobody wants this tournament to end’

Denmark is a completely different proposal for Ukraine, which we surpassed in our quarterfinals on Saturday. They will offer a much harder challenge.

The Danes have now created a real boost, having made such a traumatic start to the tournament with Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest during the opening match against Finland.

Luckily Eriksen has recovered and, as he watches, they are playing with a purpose that makes them even more dangerous. In addition to their capabilities, they have the attitude that they themselves can do something amazing at Euro 2020.

England will be ready though. We showed it in Rome and what a magnificent performance was our 4-0 win.

When I spoke to manager Gareth Southgate later, he said he couldn’t enjoy everything as much as all of us at home, but I hope he’s smiling at it now – it should be all the same.

I think he meant that, after a quick turnaround, he returned to work for him and the England players on Sunday, returning to Euro 2020 training base at St George’s Park.

If things had gone differently and Ukraine had beaten them, everyone would have gone home instead – but it never seemed like it was happening.

No one wants this tournament to end, including the English players who give us so much fun.

They should be very proud of what they are doing because they have raised the whole country after a horrible few months.

Let’s just hope it lasts two more games and we’re going to be euphoric next Sunday night for the same reason.

‘Gareth is a smart manager, and a winner’

I can’t help but be carried away by our chances of making it to the finals on July 11th.

Like I said on TV, it seems to me that something very special is going on with this English side and why not get excited when the team is doing well? That’s what we want, that’s why we’re here and that’s what we needed.

There are many reasons to be confident as well. We started Euro 2020 slowly, but we are getting better every game. Everything seems to be clicking, and the victory over Ukraine was our best performance in this tournament so far.

We have already shown how strong we are on defense, and this time we have also shown what we can do next.

We were doing our settings again like at the 2018 World Cup, which is important, but we were also exciting in the open game.

There were so many positive things and, all in all, it was a pretty perfect evening, from the very beginning when Harry Kane scored again for the lead in less than four minutes.

We have never looked back from there and we will need to have the same energy and intensity against Denmark and attack them in the same way.

That hunger for goals did not affect us on defense either. England have finished with another clean sheet and still have to concede after five games in this tournament.

We had players all over the field who performed huge performances. As I expected, Kane is back in the spring after scoring a goal against Germany and will feel at the top of the world again after scoring two more goals.

He would probably be my match man, but Luke Shaw pushed him to the end. I thought it was a magnificent down left flank.

Yet every decision Gareth made worked. He returned to playing with four behind, and the players who joined the team, Jadon Sancho and Mason Mount, both coped well and created a case to stay there.

After that, when Gareth mentioned the English players who haven’t shown up so far and said they play their part too, he knew exactly what he was doing. He wanted to include them and make sure he cared for them as much as he could without acting them out.

He is a very smart manager, and also a winner. Let it go on for a long time.

Alan Shearer spoke with Chris Bevan of BBC Sport.

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