Gareth Southgate calls on his England stars to create more ‘iconic moments’ and etch their names into Wembley folklore against Denmark
Gareth Southgate has called on his side to become Wembley icons against Denmark on Wednesday night.
The old Wembley, which was knocked down in 2003, provided the setting for some of the national team’s most euphoric moments — namely England’s World Cup victory in 1966.
This is the first major international tournament played at the national stadium in its current guise and Southgate, who was last night considering starting fit-again Bukayo Saka, has urged his players to create their own Wembley folklore.
Gareth Southgate wants his players to create more special memories at the new Wembley
England’s exhilarating win over Germany in the round of 16 will go down in history as one of the greatest nights at the new Wembley, and Southgate wants his team to add to that legacy.
‘Wembley has a fantastic history, of course, but those of us who remember the old stadium, a lot of those memories would be from then,’ he said.
‘I don’t expect Denmark to be fearful of Wembley. They have experienced players and they’ll enjoy playing there. We’ve got to make sure they don’t get a game they’re enjoying.
‘The history of the stadium relies on those iconic moments and if we look historically, that’s been in the past — there have been fewer headline events at the new Wembley.
‘Whereas this tournament, of course, is now one where we’ve achieved some big moments.
Raheem Sterling etched his name into England history with the goal against Germany
‘There are pictures on the wall as you drive into the dressing rooms of iconic England goals but some of them aren’t even from competitions.
‘David Beckham’s free-kick against Greece was a qualifier so I think our players over the last two tournaments have been able to create some special memories for youngsters.’
Despite Denmark playing with a wing-back system, Southgate is set to keep faith with the four-man defence that started the 4-0 win over Ukraine.
Southgate’s biggest selection decision will be whether he reinstates Saka in the starting XI ahead of Jadon Sancho, who started the quarter-final.
Bukayo Saka is available to start for England in the semi-final against Denmark
Arsenal star Saka is available for selection after recovering from a slight ankle knock and is hopeful of getting the nod.
Southgate has spoken to his squad about the importance of substitutions for tonight’s clash, which could open the door for Jack Grealish to come off the bench and make his fourth appearance of the tournament.
The England boss is understood to have stressed to his squad that personnel changes may well be a decisive factor in Wednesday night’s semi-final.