Southgate: Psychologist can help England

PA Sport
Gareth Southgate believes a sports psychologist can help England

View photo

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."

View comments (15)