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Harry Kane believes ‘best present’ for Gareth Southgate would be England win

England captain Harry Kane insists the players want to celebrate Gareth Southgate’s 100th game in charge by giving him the perfect gift – victory over Switzerland and a place in the Euro 2024 semi-finals.

Southgate will become just the third coach to reach a century of matches in charge of the England men’s senior team when they meet Switzerland in Dusseldorf on Saturday evening.

He was appointed – initially on an interim basis – in 2016 and this is the fourth major tournament in which Southgate has led the nation having previously reached the 2018 World Cup semi-finals before losing the Euro 2020 final on penalties to Italy.

England’s Harry Kane celebrates after scoring their side’s second goal of the game during the win over Slovakia
England’s Harry Kane celebrates after scoring their side’s second goal of the game during the win over Slovakia (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Southgate, who was also capped 57 times by England as a player, would not be drawn on the occasion of his 100th game, saying the “landmark is not relevant for this moment” and that the quarter-final clash “isn’t about me”.

Kane, though, who has been Southgate’s full-time captain since 2018, was full of praise for the man who has taken England closer to ending their now 58-year wait for a major men’s trophy than anyone since Alf Ramsey’s World Cup win in 1966.

“It’s an incredible achievement,” he said of Southgate making it to 100 matches.

“It just shows his standards and the consistency that he’s shown along with the coaching staff as well. Incredible consistency over a long period of time and to reach 100 games is really, really special.

“He’s changed a lot in terms of our national team in his tenure since he’s been here. Not just on the pitch and off the pitch as well, and the connections we’ve had with the fans and the media, and he’s allowed people to open up and be themselves.

“That’s been a big turning point in our careers as England players. So, I’m really happy for him and he should be extremely proud, but all he’s worrying about is making sure we win.”

Asked if the players had anything special planned to make the occasion, Kane added: “In terms of doing something for him, I think all he will want his a win so hopefully we can win and that will be the best present he could ask for.”

Southgate reaches the landmark figure with criticism ringing in his ears after England’s poor performances at the Euros.

England manager Gareth Southgate applauds fans at the end of the Euro 2024 draw against Slovenia
England manager Gareth Southgate applauds fans at the end of the Euro 2024 draw against Slovenia (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Despite topping Group C, England secured just five points and were held to draws by Denmark and Slovenia.

They then needed a last-gasp Jude Bellingham overhead kick to take their last-16 clash with Slovakia to extra time, where Kane headed home to secure a tight 2-1 win.

“As players, we always take the responsibility,” added the Bayern Munich striker when asked if the players have to take some of the blame for England’s displays.

“Of course, I know the boss at times will come under criticism and come under stick. But, ultimately, it’s us on the pitch, it’s us who have to go out and play the way we want to play and make the difference in vital moments.

  1. Walter Winterbottom - 139

  2. Alf Ramsey - 113

  3. Gareth Southgate - 99

  4. Bobby Robson - 95

  5. Sven-Goran Eriksson - 67

“I think the players feel that. We feel like the coach has given us so much and been one of our most successful managers in England’s history. So we need to go out there and repay him with that.

“In terms of the performance, of course every game we’ve tried to play better and improve. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. But the important thing is we find a way to get through to the next round. We want to play better tomorrow and hopefully we can do.

“But there are a lot of different variables in the game and different moments that you have to come through. What we’ve been so good at over the years is the resilience we’ve show in different moments in different games and tomorrow will be no different.”