Euro 2024: Southgate expects England fans to avoid trouble

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Gareth Southgate has said he "expects everybody to enjoy the football" amid fears of fan trouble ahead of England's opening Group C match against Serbia in Gelsenkirchen.

Sunday's game has been deemed "high risk" by tournament organisers on security grounds as authorities are concerned by both historic incidents of violence involving England fans and a group of around 500 Serbian hooligans police believe are intent on causing trouble.

Only low-alcohol beer will be served inside the Veltins-Arena and in the vicinity in a bid to avoid fuelling any aggression and when asked on Saturday for his message to travelling fans, England boss Southgate said: "I expect everybody to enjoy the football. I've been fortunate to be involved in a lot of tournaments and travelled to others that I wasn't directly involved [in].

"They are great carnivals of football, an opportunity to see another part of the world, meet people from other parts of the world, have a brilliant time. So everybody I'm sure is coming to do exactly that.

"The whole of Europe can come together, celebrate together the brilliant game we're involved in, support and get behind their team but of course meet other people and have a fantastic month together."

Southgate has been handed a significant fitness boost on the eve of the game with Luke Shaw potentially available to play some part off the bench.

Shaw has not played any competitive football since February due to a hamstring problem and was not expected to be fit until England's second group game against Denmark on Thursday at the earliest.

"Everyone's available," said Southgate. "We have a decision whether Luke is possible to use from the bench or not but everybody has trained today and is available."

Southgate also revealed that Jude Bellingham has been drafted into a new-look leadership group for the tournament.

ESPN revealed on Thursday that Kyle Walker has been named England's new vice-captain underneath skipper Harry Kane but Southgate has had a further reshuffle with Declan Rice and Bellingham now part of a four-man group.

Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson were longstanding members of the leadership group but were left out of final 26-man squad for the Euros after failing to prove their fitness.

Southgate confirmed: "We have actually put a small leadership group together for this tournament now with Harry, Kyle Walker, Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham because there's a different dynamic to this group.

"There's a lot of younger players and I want to make sure that the voices of the younger players I am in touch with that as well.

"So, I don't want to leave here with any stone unturned. I don't want to have missed anything.

"It's always important to know what the players are thinking. They have good views, they have good experiences and. also, there will be some decisions I will take without talking to any of them."

Bellingham has amassed 29 caps and this latest elevation marks another sign of his growing influence after a stellar debut season with Real Madrid in which he won both la Liga and the Champions League.

Southgate continued: "I want the opinions of the four boys but also they're involved with different age groups in the squad so they'll be able to pick up with different areas of the squad.

"We've got 26 [players], it's not easy to keep track of how everyone is every day. You want to open up that dialogue.

"Sometimes with younger players, they're going to be a little bit more reluctant to approach the head coach and talk about what they're thinking, so you want a sense check of what's going on, on the ground.

"Those boys are leaders, the squad has taken on a younger dynamic so important they start to embrace more responsibility in those areas.

"It shouldn't just be for the older players to lead, a lot of our younger players have a lot of caps and a lot of big match experience.

"I could have put more into the group but I think four's enough. We'll meet regularly and feed back on everything, basically."