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Stokes says flak flying around England at Euro 2024 'tough to see'

Batting for Gareth Southgate: England cricket captain Ben Stokes is unhappy with the criticism directed at the England football manager (Sajjad HUSSAIN)
Batting for Gareth Southgate: England cricket captain Ben Stokes is unhappy with the criticism directed at the England football manager (Sajjad HUSSAIN)

England cricket captain Ben Stokes has urged the nation's sports fans to get behind the Three Lions at Euro 2024, saying the criticism directed at Gareth Southgate's men has been "tough to see".

England football manager Southgate invited Stokes to speak to his squad before they left for Germany, with the two-time World Cup-winner concentrating on themes of leadership and attitude.

The England men's football team, without a major trophy since lifting the 1966 World Cup on home soil, have come under fire for a series of lacklustre displays at Euro 2024.

But Stokes believes much of the criticism is unfair given Southgate's side have made it through to the last four, with England facing the Netherlands in a semi-final on Wednesday -- after play finishes on the first day of the cricketers' first Test against the West Indies at Lord's.

"They're in the semi-finals aren't they?," Stokes told reporters at Lord's on Tuesday. "They've done what they needed to do to get where they are now.

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

The all-rounder added: "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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