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Gareth Southgate in a ‘happier’ place shut off from criticism

England boss Gareth Southgate said he will ignore media coverage during Euro 2024 as his joy at winning matches lasts just “45 seconds” due to the scrutiny he is under.

The Three Lions men got off to a winning start. But a 1-0 victory over Serbia attracted criticism for not maximising the use of the attacking talent on offer to England.

Jude Bellingham stole the show with the only goal in Gelsenkirchen. But Phil Foden and Harry Kane were among those who struggled to shine in a slow start by one of the pre-tournament favourites.

“My world is a happier place if I shut myself off,” Southgate said at his pre-match press conference ahead of facing Denmark on Thursday. “It’s not good from a global perspective. I haven’t got a clue about politics or (world) events, but for the next month that’s going to be a better place for me.”

Under Southgate England have risen back into contention for glory. Reaching a final, semi-final and quarter-final in his three attempts at major tournaments. However, that record has not sheltered him from a backlash at times due to the wealth of talent he has to choose from.

And Gareth Southgate conceded there should be more joy in leading his country. “We’ve had some good results over the years so maybe even we take wins for granted. I should let the boys enjoy it more than they do,” he added.

“I get about 45 seconds of enjoyment. The whistle blows, I cuddle everybody, walk off the pitch and that’s about it. I hope they have a little bit longer than me! There should be more joy in it but that’s not my reality if I’m frank. My focus is to get qualified from the group, two tough opponents and two games to achieve that.”

Manchester City defender Kyle Walker said he is also keen to shut out any outside noise – apart from the opinion of his mum.

“I don’t read it at all,” said Walker. “If you have outside noise, positively or negatively, it can have an impact so I’d rather not see it and concentrate on what it’s in camp, what the gaffer says, and mainly what my mum says. She always tells me if I’ve had a good game.”

Victory over Denmark in Frankfurt will secure England’s place in the last 16 with a game to spare. Luke Shaw remains the only player unavailable to Southgate as he continues his rehabilitation of a calf injury.

The Manchester United left-back has not played at all for club or country since February. But Southgate remains confident Shaw will have a role to play in the tournament.

“Luke won’t be involved tomorrow. He is actually on track for where he was originally. He needs a bit more volume work. There are days he needs to do more than the rest of the group. And other days he needs to recover.”