Gareth Southgate defends Declan Rice ahead of England vs Czech Republic

Montenegro vs England: Gareth Southgate has no hesitation throwing youngsters into ‘hostile’ environment

Steven Gerrard and Ashley Cole were verbally abused and targeted with missiles when England travelled to Podgorica for a World Cup qualifier in 2013 and a similarly tough atmosphere is expected

Samuel Lovett@samueljlovett
Sunday 24 March 2019 20:09
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Gareth Southgate says he will have no hesitation about throwing his young stars into the potentially-intimidating environment of Monday night’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Montenegro.

Steven Gerrard and Ashley Cole were verbally abused and targeted with missiles when England travelled to Podgorica for a World Cup qualifier in 2013 and a similarly tough atmosphere is expected.

But Southgate said his youngsters were ready for any challenge they may face. “This is part of their education and to be a top team we’ve got to adapt to every environment we go into,” he said on Sunday night.

“Friday at Wembley is always a different experience to going away from home in a qualifier, which is always difficult. But the only way the team can learn and improve is by going through these experiences.”

Midfielder Jordan Henderson echoed his manager’s sentiment: “I think the gaffer is right. It’s part of the experiences you have becoming a footballer, playing in hostile environments.

“A lot will have played in those kind of environments anyway. It’s about concentration on what’s important, working hard together and putting on a performance to get the right result.”

Henderson also shrugged off the potential milestone of achieving his 50th England cap in the match.

He said: “I’m proud to play for my country but the type of person I am, I’ll not really think about it too much.

“Maybe I’ll think about it when I finish my career but at the moment I just want to concentrate on doing the best for my team.

“When I finish my career or my England career, then I can look back and decide if it was good or not.”

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