Gareth Southgate highlights England 'threat' ahead of Euro 2020

England will be seen as a threat by the main contenders but must improve to achieve Euro 2020 glory, says Gareth Southgate.

England manager Gareth Southgate   -  Getty Images

Gareth Southgate has challenged England to "improve to another level" and mount a serious challenge for Euro 2020.

Southgate led the Three Lions on a surprise run to the semifinals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where little was expected of a team that had spent the previous decade under-achieving on the biggest stages.

England followed its best major tournament showing of the 21st century with another semifinal berth, this time in the inaugural Nations League.

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A functional team has been enhanced by exciting youngsters such as Jadon Sancho, while Raheem Sterling's goal return for his country is now akin to what he produced in back-to-back Premier League triumphs with Manchester City.

Add in the factor that the semifinals and finals of a pan-continental Euro 2020 will take place at Wembley and there is mounting enthusiasm around England's prospects ahead of Saturday's group-stage draw.

Although he does not wish to dissuade this after a free-scoring qualification campaign, Southgate told BBC Sport he sees room for improvement.

"I think we've gained some respect and I think people would view us as a threat, which certainly wasn't the case ahead of Russia," he said.

"We also know we have got to improve to another level.

"It's hard to assess exactly where we are after this qualifying campaign.

"But if we look at a World Cup semifinal, a Nations League semifinal, and qualifying with the most goals in Europe, we have done all we can and we are on a good track."

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He added: "In terms of consistency of performance, we are [close to the top teams]. Nobody else got to the World Cup semifinals and the latter stages of the Nations League.

"So we are in that mix of teams, but there are lot of good teams and the difference on one day between any of the top 10 teams is so marginal in football."

Southgate was linked to the recent vacancy at Tottenham but feels no need to place his focus elsewhere, with planning for the Qatar 2022 World Cup also on the agenda.

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"I haven't planned anything in my managerial career," said the former Middlesbrough and England Under-21 boss. "None of the jobs that I've taken were a reality in my mind until about 48 hours before they happened.

"I love the job I'm doing, we have an exciting team which continues to improve. At every team you work with, there maybe comes a moment when the fans or the players have had enough of you and that's probably the time to go. I don't sense that at the moment."

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