Former England ace Anderton warns of “comedown” vs Ukraine as semi-final beckons

EXCLUSIVE: England can emulate the class of Euro ’96 by beating Ukraine on Saturday and reaching the semi-finals of the European Championships for only the second time in their history

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Former England star Darren Anderton has warned the current Three Lions of a potential “comedown” against Ukraine as they target a place in the semi-finals at Euro 2020.

Gareth Southgate’s side are big favourites to see off the budding Ukrainians and reach the semi-finals at the Euros for only the second time in their history after the heartbreak of Euro 1996.

It will be the first time England have played outside of Wembley since the tournament started, with the mood no doubt still higher than ever off the back of Tuesday’s win over Germany.

And one of the members of that iconic Euro ’96 side, ex-Tottenham midfielder Darren Anderton, admits that while a change of scenery might not be such a bad thing.

England are in Rome for their quarter-final clash with Ukraine


The FA via Getty Images)

However, Anderton has urged the roaring Three Lions to be cautious about a lack of adrenaline after such a huge win over Germany just days ago.

“I don’t actually think it will be a bad thing,” Anderton told Mirror Football.

“It’ll be a little break, get out of the hotel and go and travel somewhere, play in a different stadium.

“After witnessing them playing at Wembley against the Germans, it’ll probably be a little bit of a comedown, and the adrenaline might not be quite where it was for the German game.

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“Gareth will be drumming it into them that they’ve got to start the game well. We should beat Ukraine, though you’ve got to give them credit for reaching this stage, but this is a fixture we should be looking forward to as a great way to get to the semis.”

England are yet to concede in their four matches so far at Euro 2020, with Southgate adopting a more defensive approach than many had imagined.

And Anderton insists that they will take real confidence in the resolute backline that has turned them into what looks to be a “winning side”.

“Mentally they’ll be really strong after beating Germany,” he added. “I feel they believe nobody is going to score against them, and going into a game knowing that is a great feeling.

Darren Anderton has had his say on England’s clash with Ukraine



“The team looks really solid at the moment, it looks like a winning team. It might not look as exciting as we’d all hoped, but it looks like a wining team and I’m sure they’ll all have that inner belief from keeping four clean sheets.

“They’ll be looking forward to this game with confidence, and they’ll know that they can maybe win it by a couple of goals.”

Going into more detail about his former England team-mate’s tactical decisions, Anderton reckons that while many have called for the exciting young forwards to be given more minutes, Southgate is making the decisions that are putting the Three Lions in the best spot to bring football home.

“We’ve seen a different England to what I expected,” Anderton went on. “I expected us to be a little bit more entertaining.

“Those boys – Grealish, Foden, Saka, Sancho – we thought would go out and do the business, with the worry being on the defensive side of things.

“It’s been the opposite. Gareth’s noticed our defensive issues, and he’s done something about it. Sat two in front, which has taken away a little bit from our attacking play, and Kane has struggled with that.

“But as a team that can win the tournament, it’s clear to see we’ve got a massive chance.

“In tournament football it’s not about playing entertaining football all the time, it’s all about results.”

Darren Anderton was speaking to the Mirror on behalf of BETDAQ.

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