Mark Sampson

Euro 2017: Mark Sampson reflects on England’s campaign

Mark Sampson refused to confirm he will remain England manager after the Lionesses bowed out of Euro 2017 with a heavy defeat to the Netherlands Thursday night.

The Lionesses boss has steered his side to two successive major competitions semi-finals, but their 3-0 defeat to the hosts was a disappointing way to end a tournament they were tipped to win.

And now the 34-year-old needs time to take in what happened in Enschede before he commits to the next World Cup cycle – which begins in earnest next month.

“I need to go away now and reflect on the last 12 months and think what more I could have done to have got them over the line,” he said.

“But for a manager, as well as the players, these tournaments are emotional rollercoasters and we had some fantastic highs and tough lows.

“That takes its toll, not just on you personally but on my family too. This job has changed immensely in the time I have been here. This job has gone through the roof in terms of media interest, supporters and opinions on the game.

“Now we need time to reflect on everything before thinking about moving forward.”

England arrived in Enschede as favourites to go on and end the nation’s 51-year wait for a major trophy following Germany’s shock exit in the previous round, but they were outplayed by the Netherlands in front of a sell-out crowd.

Vivianne Miedema and Danielle van de Donk did the damage with goals either side of the break, while a late Millie Bright own goal compounded their misery.

But Sampson is still adamant they can become the best team in the world, something they admitted was their target on the eve of the tournament.

“I am even more certain after last night that this team has the potential to be the best team in the world,” he added.

“The criteria for what it takes to be the best in any field is talent is a pre-requisite and these players are talented.

“What we have developed in the last 12 months is strong work ethic and determination to do whatever it takes to be the best they can be, improve every day and use whatever they can find to be a better player and person to help this team win.

“We have created a real family within this changing room where the players give everything for each other and everything for the jersey and they look after their pal next to them – so there is no doubt those are the qualities they need to be the best.

“I believe one day they will become the best team on the planet.”

VIDEO: Interview with Mark Sampson

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