Southgate: England ready for Euro 2024 challenge
Gareth Southgate insists England will head into Euro 2024 ready to handle the expectation that comes with being ranked one of the tournament favourites.
The England boss and his players were pitted against Denmark, Serbia and Slovenia in Group C for next summer's finals in Germany in Saturday night's draw in Hamburg.
Southgate has overseen a transformation of England's fortunes since he took over in 2016, steering them to a first World Cup semi-final since 1990 at the 2018 tournament in Russia and a first-ever Euro final appearance in 2021.
There were further signs of progress in December's run to the World Cup quarter-finals and the side are firm favourites to take the final step and claim silverware, thanks in no small part to Real Madrid star Jude Bellingham and Bayern Munich sharpshooter Harry Kane.
The Three Lions boss said: "They are used to playing in big matches and have produced regularly. They are used to playing in big matches together and individually, so we are excited and all looking forward to the summer.
"We feel the squad has been building for a period of time and England are going to be competitive for the foreseeable future as you look at the young players coming through. When we started at St George's Park it is what we wanted to happen.
"If you are continually in those latter stages, most teams that win go close and then get there."
Denmark were England's opponents in a tense semi-final at Euro 2020, when Kane scored from a penalty rebound after a spot-kick was controversially awarded for a foul on Raheem Sterling in extra time.
But Southgate also well remembers a past encounter with Slovenia. England faced them in his second match in charge as interim manager in October 2016, a qualifier for the 2018 World Cup.
England clung on for a point that day in a 0-0 draw, and Southgate saw it as a turning point in his tenure.
He added: "Slovenia takes me back to one of my first games as manager where but for Joe Hart plucking out one of the best saves I've ever seen.
"I wouldn't be standing here and I would probably still be a caretaker, but at something else."