By News Team
Last Updated: 30th June 2021
Former England goalkeeper David Seaman has revealed that Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate text him to say “it’s been a long time coming” after he led his team to victory against Germany in the Euros, 25 years after his semi-final penalty miss against the same opposition.
Southgate’s emotions were visible after he masterminded a 2-0 win in the last 16 against Joachim Low’s side, after goals from Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane booked England’s place in the quarter-finals. Seaman revealed the message that he feels captures Southgate’s relief perfectly after a high-pressured match and the history behind that fixture.
He said: “I’m so happy for him. When Gareth said that he’d seen me on the big screen and he realised myself and the rest of the lads hadn’t got to the (Euro ’96) final because he missed the penalty, it meant so much, but it never crossed my mind that that was the whole reason.
“Gazza (Paul Gascoigne) also missed a chance by an inch, Darren Anderton hit the post, and I should have saved a penalty. All of those things you bring together collectively as a team. Gareth didn’t hit the best penalty of his life, but for him to go full circle now and to see him walking around, clapping the fans, fist pumping and looking to the skies made me so happy for him.”
Seaman added: “I text him straight after the game and he was brilliant about it. He said to me “yeah, it’s been a long time coming!”
“I spoke to Incey (Paul Ince) and Tony (Adams), and Gazza was on my podcast too. We mentioned Gareth’s penalty a little bit but it’s banter because we all went through it as a team and that’s what made it so special. I’m sure we’ll all be phoning each other up and enjoying it, but we have to move on and make this tournament better.
“If we get knocked out in the next round, God forbid, the Germany game will be forgotten about. So now, it’s about making sure we develop and progress from that. Get to the semi-final, and then the final, and who knows from there?”
Seaman also expects more from the Three Lions as they march on to the quarter-finals, and that there are still improvements to be made for the latter stages of the tournament.
He said: “It was good, but it wasn’t brilliant. The first half was like a chess match with both teams working each other out. The second half was better, and we started to come into it a bit more, and then Harry (Kane) got more involved. With Jack (Grealish) coming on, he showed what he can do. He can change games, set up passes, and create chances for goals, that showed when he had a hand in both goals.
“Overall, it was a good performance, but I feel we’ve still got more to come and that we’ve got better than that.”
Seaman believes that squad depth will be important for England now as they look to progress in the tournament and acknowledged the effort that went in to beating Germany and the toll that it will take on the players.
He said: “It was a brave effort, and the players gave their all. How shattered did Declan Rice look when he came off? That’s not a fitness issue, that’s the mental strain of the occasion. He was giving me cramp up in the stands just by looking at him!
“Everybody was up celebrating, even the Royals were jumping! Ed Sheeran and Becks (David Beckham) were beside me, and Ellie Goulding was giving it large a few rows from us too and let me tell you, she loves her football!”
The home advantage is something Seaman says has helped England massively with their matches so far and recognised the England fans for their support for the team on a memorable occasion at Wembley.
He said: “The momentum is growing, and the games are getting bigger and bigger, and playing at Wembley definitely helps. The fans were amazing yesterday, and it was brilliant outside the stadium too.”
Seaman has been backing goal scorer Harry Kane throughout his goal drought since the beginning of the tournament, and he drew comparisons with Alan Shearer in Euro ’96 after he went into the tournament without scoring in months. Seaman believes Kane’s goal will do him and the team the world of good for the remainder of the competition.
He said: “It was great to see Harry score. I think he overdid it with the celebrations and exerted a lot of energy into that but it’s understandable! And you could see what it meant to him and the players, they were all so happy for him.
“Everybody knows how good he is and how good he can be. Hopefully that second half is the springboard he needed to kick on. We saw it with Alan Shearer at Euro ’96, he went into that tournament having not scored for months, then he scored in the first game, and he kept scoring. That’s what I’d love to see for Harry.”
Looking towards the rest of the tournament, Seaman believes that England need to take one game at a time, but should they defeat Ukraine then he hopes it’s Czech Republic they meet in the semi-final, having already played and beaten them. Beyond that, he has eyes for Italy.
He said: “There’s always something about England against Italy that I like. I feel like Belgium will be the ones that get there, as their team is full of mega talent and they’re playing well. But in Italy, they are like England in that they are built on defending but they are scoring a lot too.
“My advice for the team now though, would be to go and make history. It’s a great chance to go and put their stamp on English football and play a final at Wembley and trust me that would be an incredible occasion.”