Gareth Southgate targeting top of the world as England drive for Euros glory
Gareth Southgate says there can be no let-up for already-qualified England if they are to win next summer’s Euros and become the top-ranked team in the world.
The Euro 2020 runners-up last month sealed their place at the 2024 edition in Germany with two matches to spare and were below par in Friday’s qualifier against Malta.
England disappointed in the 2-0 victory at a packed Wembley and will look to end 2023 on a high as they round off Euro 2024 qualification in North Macedonia.
Southgate’s side arrived in Skopje all but assured of being among the top seeds in December’s draw in Hamburg, but every moment counts as they seek to be best on the planet.
“Qualification’s done,” the England boss said ahead of the Group C finale.
“With the games at the weekend, we might be ranked third in the world at the minute, but we’re two places off where we need to be so we can’t waste games.
“Some of the players have got three games to get into a squad, some have got maybe three to get into a team, maybe a couple more if we’re talking about the team.
“There’s some things we’d like to see. But if we’re going to be a top team, then the level of performance has got to be spot on every time.”
Asked if being number one drives him on, Southgate said: “Yeah, because ultimately you achieve that through consistency and you’ve got to play well in the tournaments as well because the ranking points are higher in the tournaments.
“Also, it sets behaviours every day on the training pitch, off the training pitch.
“If you are going to be the top-ranked team, there’s no room for sloppiness or casualness. That’s got to be our drive.”
England currently sit fourth in FIFA’s world rankings, making it five straight years of being in the top five.
Their previous best