John Stones hits back at England fans who threw beer cups at Gareth Southgate after Slovenia draw at Euro 2024

England defender John Stones is set to win his 77th cap against Switzerland (Picture: Getty)

John Stones says the supporters who threw beer cups at Gareth Southgate following England’s goalless draw with Slovenia have only given the manager extra ‘motivation’ to succeed.

England are preparing to do battle with Switzerland for a place in the Euro 2024 semi-finals this weekend in what will be Southgate’s 100th game as head coach of the national team.

The Three Lions entered the European Championships as one of the bookmakers’ favourites to get their hands on the trophy on July 14 but have faced heavy criticism after a series of woeful performances in Germany.

Last time out, Southgate’s men appeared to be heading for a dismal last-16 exit at the hands of Slovakia until Jude Bellingham and captain Harry Kane came to the rescue to turn the tide.

But Southgate will know his side can ill afford to underperform again versus a dangerous Switzerland team – one of the surprise packages of the tournament – and it’s understood the England boss is preparing to radically alter his formation in Dusseldorf on Saturday evening.

Southgate last month admitted the Euros could be his last hoorah but Stones is uncertain what the future holds for his manager, who he feels has been unfairly treated throughout England’s campaign.

‘I’ve only heard about the criticism that he’s been receiving,’ the England and Manchester City defender told reporters this afternoon.

The Three Lions have faced heavy criticism for their performances in Germany this summer (Picture: Getty)

‘I saw some fans after one game throwing bottles to his direction. I’m sure that will have only motivated him that bit more.

‘I couldn’t tell you about his future or us knowing anything about that, or me personally, but of course we have all spent time with him and know him as a person.

‘We know how hard he and his backroom staff work so yeah, definitely, we want to win for them, we want to win for ourselves, our families and everyone in the nation.’

Bellingham and Kane came to the rescue last time out against Slovakia (Picture: Getty)

Stones added: ‘I can only comment on how that criticism will affect him in a good way.

‘It will make him want to win even more, do even better.

‘But yeah, it gets brushed aside quite quickly.’

The Manchester City defender has started every game for England at Euro 2024 (Picture: Getty)

Asked what he had learned from the England boss, Stones replied: ‘A lot.

‘I’m going to try and give you my top few things I have learned that have left an impression of how he’s changed our culture within the team, which is something that’s extremely difficult, having players coming from different environments with their clubs to feel so comfortable within everyone’s company on the training pitch.

‘The humility we have as a team as well. And the winning mentality.

‘He’s very switched on with how we do in games, how we’ve done over our period of being together and he’s very clear in what he wants us to achieve as a team, as a nation.

‘I think the great attributes, the great qualities that he’s got as a manager are that he is simple and clear with what he gets over to us as players and what he wants from us, what we’re all here to try to achieve and that’s something that has not been done.

‘So to be able to be here now and try to leave a mark on this tournament is important and we have that goal at the end of it of doing something that has never been done before.’

Stones was pictured with strapping around his right leg as England’s players were put through their paces in training on Wednesday.

But the six-time Premier League winner – who is set to win his 77th cap for his country against Switzerland – allayed fears over his fitness, claiming the heavy bandaging ‘looks worse’ than the reality.

‘No, no. It’s all good. It looks worse with the heavy strapping than what I’ve done. So no, I’m all good with that,’ he explained.

The winning team from Saturday’s quarter-final contest in Dusseldorf will do battle for a spot in the semi-finals with either the Netherlands or Turkey at Borussia Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion on July 10.

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