Gareth Southgate has praised the attitude of Lionesses manager Sarina Wiegman but has warned that playing at a home tournament can bring lots of scrutiny.
Wiegman became the England Women’s boss in September 2021 and is so far undefeated in 11 matches in charge –– winning the Arnold Clark Cup back in February.
The former Netherlands head coach will lead England into this summer’s European Championships on home soil, which get underway in July.
And Southgate, who masterminded England’s men to the final of Euro 2020 last summer, is a big fan of Wiegman and the job she’s done so far.
Southgate reveals the advice he’d give Wiegman
Asked what advice he’d give the Lionesses boss, Southgate told Football Focus that the Dutch manager has won more than he has so far and that he was in no position to say anything.
“Well, to be honest, Sarina has won one… with the greatest respect, I’m not going to be telling her what to do,” he stressed.
“The great thing for Sarina is she has obviously managed at a home tournament, with that expectation with the Dutch.
“Obviously she would have loved maybe another six months, a year with the team ahead of [the Euros], but you can see she has got a really good way of working with the players and I think they’re enjoying working with her.
“The calmness around the place – which I think Sarina will have – going into those big games is so important.
“It’s about not worrying if there’s a bad performance or a bad result.”
Home tournament will bring added ‘expectation’
Having experienced what it’s like to manage a team competing in a home tournament, Southgate warned that despite providing a huge boost at times, it can also bring added “scrutiny”, especially if there’s a poor result.
“We had a difficult night against Scotland at home,” Southgate emphasised. “Externally there was a lot of criticism and internally there was a bit of a wobble. We made sure the messaging was that it was not a problem.
“The objective was to qualify from the group and then go on. You won’t play well in every game. That calmness is important when things feel like there is a lot of tension.
“As the tournament progresses and the fans get engaged with it, you build this momentum. The girls are going to experience that without a doubt.”
Are the Lionesses favourites for Euro 2022?
England may be unbeaten since Wiegman took over, but there are plenty of impressive teams competing in this year’s tournament.
The Lionesses face Northern Ireland, Austria and Norway in the group stages. Norway especially will provide stern opposition, with the nation boasting the likes of Ada Hegerberg and Caroline Graham-Hansen in their ranks.
Also standing in the way of Wiegman’s side will be defending champions the Netherlands as well as Spain.
The competition gets underway on July 6th, with the final taking place on July 31st.