Swiss star Schar hopes Howe sticks with Newcastle if England look for new boss

Fabian Schar hopes Newcastle boss Eddie Howe will not succeed Gareth Southgate as the Switzerland defender threatens to expedite the England manager’s exit in Saturday’s Euro 2024 quarter-final.

Having finished runners-up to hosts Germany in Group A and knocked out holders Italy in the round of 16, the Swiss are looking to go on to make their first ever major tournament semi-final.

Switzerland have fallen at the quarter-final stage on four occasions, including at the last Euros three years ago, and are looking to go one better in Dusseldorf against England this weekend.

Defeat for the Euro 2020 runners-up would likely make Southgate’s 100th match in charge his last, with Howe among the favourites to replace him.

Switzerland and Newcastle centre-back Schar said: “Well, actually I hope he will stay at Newcastle.

“Because if you see the work he’s done over last few years, I think you know he has a lot of quality and knows how to handle a big club and team.

“I mean, for myself as well, he did very well and I’m really happy to have him as a manager, so hopefully he stays at Newcastle. That’s the only thing I can think of.”

Schar is among a number of current or former Premier League players in the Swiss squad, along with the likes of Manuel Akanji, Granit Xhaka and Remo Freuler.

Asked if he wants to show a star-studded, if stumbling, England how good Switzerland can be, the defender said:  “Yes, of course I would like to show that. But I wouldn’t underestimate England.

“They have seen us play as well in the last few games and of course they know what our strengths are.

“But for us and Switzerland, it would be great to show what we are capable of.

“I’m looking forward to the game against England. I’ve been living in England six years and I’m looking forward to it.”

Schar moved to St James’ Park from Deportivo La Coruna in 2018 so knows Saturday’s opponents as well as anyone.

Keeping England captain Harry Kane quiet will be important if the Swiss are to make history, but there is little chance of them obsessing about one player.

“I think it’s the whole team – it’s not just him that we have to stop,” Schar said.

“We have to stop the entire English team, they have a lot of quality. We know how dangerous and difficult it can be.

“But we have been good at defending during this tournament and we helped each other.

“And the same will be true for tomorrow, otherwise it will become more difficult.”

Switzerland’s head coach Murat Yakin, right, and assistant coach Giorgio Contini, left, talk to captain Granit Xhaka during a training session
Switzerland head coach Murat Yakin, right, has had concerns over Granit Xhaka’s fitness (Peter Klaunzer/AP)

There was a calm confidence around the Swiss on the eve of a match that saw manager Murat Yakin downplay concerns over captain Xhaka’s thigh complaint.

“Granit has a lot of experience,” he said of the former Arsenal midfielder. “He is fit and he trained with the team. I count on him 100 per cent.

“I think he will play a great game tomorrow. Together with his team, we are all excited about tomorrow’s game.”