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Ben Stokes the right man to inspire England at Euro 2024, says Broad

Ben Stokes the right man to inspire England at Euro 2024, says Broad

By Paul Eddison

England's footballers could not ask for a better example of how to excel when the pressure is greatest than Ben Stokes, according to his former teammate Stuart Broad.

Gareth Southgate’s side kicked off their EURO 2024 campaign with a 1-0 win against Serbia in Gelsenkirchen, having brought England Test skipper Stokes into camp before the tournament.

And for Broad, England’s second most capped Test cricketer of all time, Southgate turned to exactly the right person to inspire his squad and talk to them about what it takes to succeed under pressure.

Where Southgate’s England have lost in the semi-finals, final and quarterfinals of their last three major tournaments, Stokes has helped England to World Cup success in ODIs and T20s, as well as playing one of the greatest innings of all time as England drew the Ashes series in 2019.

And all that experience can only help England’s footballers, according to Broad.

“I know Stokesy went into the camp to speak to the Euros squad,” said Broad, speaking as he launched the Small Business XI with Sage.

“Gareth Southgate asked him to do that and what a brilliant choice. Someone who is still playing, who is relevant and going through a leadership journey himself.

“I think that will have been a really engaging chat for the groups of players to listen to. In that Q&A style, you can say live in a room, how do you deal with the pressure? Why do you come to the fore in pressure scenarios? Stokesy is one of my great friends and I think it was a clever move to get him involved in that. Picking the brains of people like that who have had success in changing mindsets of changing rooms is impressive.

“Ultimately, you feed off the energy off people like Jude Bellingham who has just won the Champions League, Kyle Walker and Phil Foden who have just won the Premier League, he has had a superb season.”

Broad was part of an England team that was able to transform its fortunes, with Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum overseeing the ‘Bazball’ revolution.

And while he is the first to admit that the pressure on England’s footballers is much greater, he believes there are parallels that can be made.

He added: “They have to be able to cope with expectations and pressure and not let outside sources affect your mindset on that.

“That is a lot harder for England football than it is for England cricket just because of the energy around it and how much expectation there is.

“I think if you speak to any England football fan and ask if there is a chance of winning it, the answer is absolutely.

“Going in as borderline favourites, that’s quite hard as a playing group to control. But I think what I’ve learned from Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes is that the language within the changing room and the camp is quite important.

“It’s not talking about results, we know what the goal is, we know we want to go and win the Euros, but it’s about not making that a conversation in daily life in the camp, that’s quite important.

“You have to control the style of how you go about it. Bazz McCullum would say you are running towards danger the whole time so your mindset in training and the matches is you are looking for the moments that are dangerous and you are charging at them.

“That’s nothing to do with the result, it’s the style of play. I think that sort of thing is quite important for the thing. Leave it to us (the fans) to talk about results and our route to the final.

“But within the group, talk the language which gets you there, the style, the rhythm, the mindset of how you want to approach it. I think that is really important in sports team.”

International cricket legend Stuart Broad has teamed up with Sage, Official Insights Partner of The Hundred, to launch the Sage Small Business XI competition which offers ten small businesses a chance to win a share of £50k plus tickets to The Hundred Final. Enter now at sage.com/TheHundred