Southgate: Psychologist can help England

PA Sport
Gareth Southgate believes a sports psychologist can help England
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Gareth Southgate believes a sports psychologist can help England

Gareth Southgate has called on England to appoint a sports psychologist in an effort to avoid yet more penalty shoot-out pain at major tournaments.

England's latest failure in the cauldron of a shoot-out came with defeat at the hands of Italy in the Euro 2012 quarter-finals, and former England international Southgate believes the time has come for the Football Association to tackle the issue.

"I'm a big believer in sports psychology," said Southgate, who missed a crucial penalty for England in a shoot-out against Germany in the semi-finals of Euro 96.

"Every major tennis player would work with somebody, every major golfer too, then everybody tells me 'football's different' but I can't see why.

"I'm sure it would have benefited me, definitely. It's not about luck.

"It is about performing a skill under pressure. I wasn't able to do that. I was going into the darkness. We need strategies for dealing with stress."

England have lost seven of their eight shoot-outs at major tournaments - their only success coming against Spain in the last eight at Euro 96 - and Southgate believes it is no surprise that confidence has suffered.

"Now there is a long history of disappointment and it's in everybody's heads," he added in quotes reported by several national newspapers.

"Our penalty history has an impact on the whole nation."

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