Ilkay Gundogan: Never underestimate England

Ilkay Gundogan, the captain of Germany, intends to lead this generation to great success.

by Sead Dedovic
Ilkay Gundogan: Never underestimate England
© Alex Grimm/Getty Images Sport

The English are a main topic before every EURO and World Cup, generally with high expectations placed on them. Although there is a widely accepted belief that England is an overrated team, it seems that fans underestimate them from tournament to tournament, given that they do not achieve the best results. This has also happened before this EURO. The England national team is mostly under scrutiny and heavily criticized, but it must be acknowledged that there is a huge quality in this squad. 

The English finished the group stage in first place, even though they were not particularly convincing. As we mentioned, this immediately drew criticism and reactions from individuals who believe that England will not advance to the next round.

Ilkay Gundogan, the captain of Germany, intends to lead this generation to great success, especially since this EURO is being held in Germany. The German of Turkish origin discussed many topics in an interview with The Athletic, and one of the topics was England and the expectations for this team. Gundogan believes that a team like England should not be underestimated.

“Never underestimate England. They finished top of the group and got the results. In these tournaments, that’s a massive thing. Getting the results gives you confidence and motivation to play better. It’s just about getting into the next round all the time."-he told the Athletic.

France is also one of the main contenders to win the EURO. Looking at the French squad, it is expected that they could go all the way. The main star of this team, Kylian Mbappe, wants to have the EURO trophy in his cabinet after the unsuccessful campaign in 2021 when France was eliminated in the round of 16 by Switzerland. Gundogan stresses that France has the same potential as England, even though the English are favorites. The Barcelona midfielder also emphasizes that positive results change the perspective on everything, highlighting that the atmosphere around Germany is great, given their amazing results.

“Maybe only France have a similar squad in terms of talent and potential. England are still among the favourites. In the knockouts, they are full of experience — but I can understand the criticism saying they could play better.
In our case, you can see how getting results over the line can make the difference. The mood around Germany is very good, but that’s because we get results.”
- Gundogan said.

Kylian Mbappe
Kylian Mbappe© Franco Arland/Getty Images Sport

Ilkay Gundogan's role

Ilkay Gundogan has had a more offensive role since the start of the EURO, playing behind the striker. It seems that Toni Kroos and Ilkay Gundogan have great chemistry, which is not surprising given how long they have played together in the national team. Gundogan pointed out that the position of attacking midfielder is not unfamiliar to him, as he has already had such a role in Pep Guardiola's system. 

Playing for Barcelona, he has a somewhat different role from match to match, which requires him to adapt. Gundogan stresses it is crucial for a footballer to know their position and who plays alongside them. This provides him with confidence and greater belief in his abilities.

The German midfielder is happy to play alongside Kroos. This allows him to move forward more and wait for opportunities. Gundogan emphasizes that not many footballers have the composure that Kroos possesses. The most important thing is that Kroos is a consistent player who provides the team with the strength and stability it needs. Kroos has played on the big stage for Real Madrid for many years. 

Ilkay Gundogan and Toni Kroos 

Gundogan believes that if Kroos were not part of the team, it could increase his impatience, and he would likely drop back to get the ball more often. It is much easier for Gundogan to play when he has Kroos and Andrich behind him, who make his role in the team easier.

Germany will have a difficult task, considering that in the round of 16, Denmark is waiting for them, a team that has shown that it has the quality for big things. There is quality in this team, but Germany will still be the favorite in this match. The Germans will have a special motive because they are playing at home. 

Gundogan expects the team to give their maximum, believe in themselves, and ultimately that will bring them the desired results. Germany has a quality team, with many experienced players and talents. The mix of youth and experience has proven to be an excellent recipe so far.

Gundogan will be the player on whom the eyes will be focused, considering that his lucid moves could be crucial in tonight's match. We hope for a great match.

Ilkay Gundogan