England Under-21s: Gareth Southgate wants to stay as coach

Middlesbrough Gareth Southgate
Southgate was named England Under-21 coach in August 2013

Gareth Southgate says he wants to stay as England Under-21s coach despite their group-stage exit from the European Under-21 Championship.

England's semi-final hopes were ended with a 3-1 defeat by Italy in their final group game in the Czech Republic.

"I'm contracted to stay on, I'd like to stay on," said Southgate, whose deal runs until 2017.

"I think we've had some massive success stories in terms of individuals that have come through the programme."

For a third successive tournament, the Young Lions have failed to progress beyond the group stage.

They lost their opening game of this year's competition against Portugal before beating Sweden on Sunday.

Southgate accepted there "is going to be an inquest" but said work was going on "behind the scenes" to address the lack of first-team football played by young English players.

Kane 'gutted' after Euro U21 exit

"That's the nature of the landscape we've got," he said.

"We need to expose our players more to this type of environment, where there is intense pressure, where they have to produce.

"They need more of it at club level and that would help internationally but, collectively and individually, they would have learned a lot from the last 10 days."

Southgate was without injured striker Saido Berahino, while the likes of Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling, Everton playmaker Ross Barkley and Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere were left out, despite being eligible, because they have been relatively regular members of England's senior squad.

England had qualified convincingly, dropping just two points as they topped their six-team group beore beating Croatia 4-2 on aggregate in a two-legged play-off.

And Southgate argued the squad would be stronger for their experience in the finals.

"They've learned so much over the past two years but also in the last couple of weeks about tournaments, about themselves and life and everything," he added.

"And ironically, in terms of style of football, it was probably the best that they've played tonight."

'Completely avoidable'

England goalkeeper Jack Butland said England need to be more "ruthless" in both attack and defence.

He said: "This was completely avoidable, stuff we knew they would do. Italy are crafty and lively, we played better football between the boxes but you can't excuse that at either end.

"It doesn't matter how well you prepare, you have to be able to bring it when needed.

"There are fine margins in these tournaments and we conceded two sloppy goals in two minutes that have cost us our tournament."

Jack Butland
Jack Butland captained England Under-21s in the Czech Republic

How social media reacted to England's exit

Former England striker Alan Shearer:external-link "If that is progress, I'm even more worried than I was."

Former Manchester United and England striker Andrew Cole:external-link "England and the FA need a bit more character. Think outside the box! Step forward Rio Ferdinand. Younger generation can relate to him! #respect. A lot of people saying its poor management?! Who would you want in charge? Is the FA too political in its manager choice?!"

QPR midfielder Joey Barton:external-link "The less said about England's current footballing predicament the better. Just a mess from top to bottom."

Ex-England cricket captain Michael Vaughan:external-link "It's official... England sporting teams really are pants in tournaments... Apart from the women of course."

Ex-England captain Michael Owen:external-link "Painful. Back to the drawing board."

Top Stories