Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Southgate's Sole Focus Is Making Young Lions Roar

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Southgate's Sole Focus Is Making Young Lions Roar

Article excerpt

Byline: Philip Tallentire Boro Editor

GARETH Southgate insists his sole focus tonight is ensuring his England Under-21 team perform at their best against Germany.

e former Boro boss will be making his rst appearance at the Riverside Stadium in a managerial capacity since he was sacked by the club in October 2009.

But, as far as he is concerned, the occasion will be all about the game.

England go into the friendly on the back of Friday's impressive 1-0 win in Prague against the Czech Republic.

at match was an excuse for Southgate, his fellow coaches, and the players, to check out their training base for this summer Under-21 European Championships, which will be hosted by the Czechs.

Now England can test themselves against Germany, one of Europe's strongest team in the under-21 age group.

"I'm preparing for the game and looking towards the summer," said Southgate, when asked about his feelings ahead of his Riverside return.

"It's been nice to see some familiar faces coming here but I've been back quite a few times before to see people like Aitor Karanka and Dave Parnaby.

"Everybody makes me really welcome, which is great, but the game is about making sure the team will perform on the night.

"e Czech leg of this week was excellent in terms of preparing for the summer and we got a good result against a good team and we are looking for the same against Germany."

Southgate conrmed that Ben Gibson will play in his home stadium tonight. e Boro defender wasn't named in the squad for the game in Prague because he hadn't trained in the run-up to the match but he's been declared t to play against Germany.

"It would be a bit harsh not to play him on his own ground!" said Southgate.

"He's immensely looking forward to it and Ben's in our squad on merit, he's not here just because he plays for Middlesbrough.

"He was excellent in our two (Euro 2015) play-o[euro] games, he has a strong mentality and is improving all the time.

"When you look at who's not in the Middlesbrough side it tells you all about his development and his importance to their promotion push," he added. …

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