09 July 2024

Ben Stokes says criticism of England at Euro 2024 ‘tough to see’

09 July 2024

Ben Stokes has thrown his support behind England’s footballers ahead of their Euro 2024 semi-final, claiming criticism of their performances has been “tough to see”.

England boss Gareth Southgate invited the Test captain to speak to his squad ahead during a training session earlier this summer, with the two-time World Cup winner addressing the group on leadership and mentality.

He has since sent supportive Tweets during the tournament and hopes to join his own side in watching their last-four clash with the Netherlands after play finishes on day one of their first Test against the West Indies.

Stokes knows what it is like to perform in the public eye and feels England have been judged too harshly for their efforts in Germany, particularly as they are still in contention to take home the trophy.

“They’re in the semi-finals aren’t they? They’ve done what they needed to do to get where they are now,” he said.

“I want all English teams to do well whatever sport it may be, so as a professional sportsman myself I find it quite tough to see the backlash that the footballers have gotten and they always seem to get.

I just find it tough sometimes when you say you want them to do really well then you’re very quick to hammer down on them

“I understand how passionate this country is about seeing their teams do well.

“But when you’re an outsider like I am for the England football team, it’s tough to see that kind of stuff because I know that all that scrutiny and the added pressure that can come from that side isn’t going to help the team go out there and perform as well as they would like to.

“I know the public and I know everyone wants to see English sports teams do really well, but from my point of view I just find it tough sometimes when you say you want them to do really well then you’re very quick to hammer down on them.”

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