Southgate reflects on ‘frustrating’ draw; justifies Kane sub

“It was a frustrating night and … The post Southgate reflects on ‘frustrating’ draw; justifies Kane sub appeared first on Football365.

Southgate reflects on ‘frustrating’ draw; justifies Kane sub

Gareth Southgate says he is ‘frustrated’ by the goalless draw between England and Scotland at Wembley.

The Three Lions were looking to secure their place in the knockout phase of Euro 2020 by picking up three points.

But they were outplayed by a Scotland side who also nullified the threat of , Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling.


England 0-0 Scotland: Rating the players


John Stones had the best chance for England, heading a first-half corner onto the post.

Mason Mount was played in by Raheem Sterling moments later but couldn’t guide his shot on target.

Stephen O’Donnell showed the Scots’ threat by forcing a good save from Jordan Pickford with a volley.

The second half had less clear-cut chances, helping Scotland to gain a well-earned draw against their rivals.

It leaves needing a point from their final group game against the Czech Republic to qualify for the last 16.

The result also boosted Scotland’s hopes of reaching the next round. They need a win against Croatia on Tuesday to have any chance of going through.

Reacting to the draw, Southgate told reporters: “I think it was a frustrating night and we know we can play better. Got to give Scotland credit, they defended valiantly and played well.

“We didn’t do enough to win the game but after that the thing we have to worry about in tournament football is we had to make sure we didn’t lose it. We know it’s a disappointment for our supporters, but we have to dust ourselves down and move on.”

Talisman Harry Kane was brought off for Marcus Rashford in the second half after failing to register a single shot on target.

Despite his poor performance, the decision received criticism from pundits due to Kane’s goalscoring talents.

Justifying the change, Southgate added: “We needed more runs in behind, I felt Marcus Rashford would give us that energy. We have to make these decisions based on what we see.

“The whole team can look at ourselves, that starts with me, we’ve got to be better. We didn’t do enough to win the game tonight, not enough attempts on goal, we have to go away and look at that.”

When asked about potential changes for the Czech Republic game, Southgate said: “[We’ve got to] see how everyone is, prepare for a different type of opponent and make the right decisions.”

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F365 Says: England must hope hindsight masks cowardice

Perhaps that might eventually be viewed … The post F365 Says: England must hope hindsight masks cowardice appeared first on Football365.

F365 Says: England must hope hindsight masks cowardice

Perhaps that might eventually be viewed as a good point for England. But more immediately, it was desperately dispiriting…

 

For England, in the context of the tournament, a goalless draw was a decent result. One they apparently came for. And perhaps in a week or two should the Three Lions avoid the ignominy of winning the group, we might all look back upon a well-executed plan. But in any other context, was sh*te.

Any team can be forgiven an off night but England’s wretchedness ran deeper. Some of it was cowardly.

It was a performance which suggested that rather than developing a cohesive attacking unit, Gareth Southgate had spent the four days’ training since Sunday urging his men to play the game, not than the occasion.

The Three Lions played neither. They were passive yet panicky. Hyped and hapless.

Scotland, on Monday, this time found a perfect blend between aggression and assertion. In the face of technically-superior opposition, Steve Clarke’s side nullified the hosts’ threat while Che Adams and QPR’s Lyndon Dykes carried a sharper cutting edge.

Their point sets them up perfectly for a cup final at Hampden Park against Croatia on Tuesday. A ‘Brave Scotland’ narrative is now guaranteed. The choice of which is theirs.

England were anything but. Who shirked most: England’s players or management?

Despite talk of changes, masked under the weird guise of rotation as if 26 players are entitled to tournament minutes, Southgate stuck with the same attack which edged Croatia on Sunday, changing only the full-backs. The manager explained that Luke Shaw and Reece James’s “technical ability will be important” but the conservative picks in the opener offered more enterprise.

 


F365 Features: England 0-0 Scotland: Rating the players


That isn’t just down to Shaw and James. Both were stifled by the mere thought of Scotland’s wingbacks, combined with no apparent urgency on England’s behalf to score a goal that might win the game. On the left, Shaw and Raheem Sterling had all the chemistry of Lampard and Gerrard.  Sterling’s completion of 92 minutes merely leads us to assume he has nudes on Southgate.

It is easy to question the England manager’s judgement from the stands or sofa but literally everyone, even the Tartan Army foot soldiers face down in a puddle of their own fluids in Leicester Square, could see where the game was going by half-time. This was a night for Jack Grealish. But Southgate insisted on waiting until at least the hour to make a change. Everyone expected that too.

Even then, Gareth gave Grealish with one hand, and took Phil Foden with the other. This was by no means Foden’s finest performance of a fledgling international career, but looking across the front four, he certainly seemed the best bet to do… something. Two talismen on the pitch at once? No thanks, we’re English.

Southgate may point to Harry Kane as another, but the England skipper was lucky to last 74 minutes. Kane looked leggy, carrying one of a knock, the weight of expectation, or concern over his future. Possibly all three. He was not happy to be hooked on Sunday but here he could have no complaint. Nor could he if Southgate opts for Dominic Calvert-Lewin on Tuesday.

Once again, it was like-for-like when Kane was put out of his misery. The two screeners, both bogged down in a scrap with three Scotland midfielders, had few chances to penetrate with a pass or a run, and in Declan Rice’s case, even less inclination to seize what opportunities there were.

From the back too, the build up was painfully slow. Harry Maguire’s defensive influence was not much missed but his willingness to break lines with the ball was.

Perhaps his intensity too. Jordan Pickford flitted between attempts to fire up those around him while simultaneously keeping his own chimp in check. The England goalkeeper was one of very few – the only one? – to emerge from this stalemate with his reputation enhanced.

Grealish too, but only by his absence, and the same can be said for Jadon Sancho. Had Southgate been allowed only to pick 23 in his squad, the Borussia Dortmund flier evidently would be one of the three odd men out. Which given his late-season form for Borussia Dortmund is one of an increasing number of puzzling stances from Southgate.

With so many attacking options, and a similar number of playmakers, it really should not be so insipid. The desire to protect his defence is understandable but Southgate’s pragmatism threatens to waste a prodigious group of attacking talent in a tournament which should hold no fear.

What next? A win against Czech Republic will be nice. A draw would be even nicer, weirdly, if England want to manipulate their path into the knockout stages. But if tournament football is about momentum, on this evidence, you would need to be far braver than the manager to back the Three Lions to navigate a route beyond the last 16, whichever road they stumble down.

 

 

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