England are back to being England again. This was meant to be the year football came home but, after drawing with Scotland on Friday night, the country is back to being in a state of despair. So Express Sport will now take a look at three players who need dropping after the dire result, with Gareth Southgate now preparing for Tuesday’s showdown with the Czech Republic.
Let’s start with the obvious.
Harry Kane was meant to be England’s saviour, the player to propel them to Euro 2020 glory after sparkling for Tottenham last term.
But, after two matches in the competition so far, the Spurs hitman looks a shadow of his usual self.
Kane was abysmal against Scotland on Friday night, managing just 19 touches, a 63 per cent pass completion rate and no shots on target.
And it spoke volumes about his display that, with England needing a goal, Southgate hooked him instead – bringing on Marcus Rashford in his place.
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Mason Mount is a talent.
But he’s failed to bring his Chelsea form to the international stage at Euro 2020, producing two anonymous performances in the competition so far.
Mount should, therefore, be used off the bench instead.
The Chelsea star has the potential to shine there and, by dropping him, it would allow Southgate to bring Jack Grealish into the fold.
Grealish was unable to break Scotland down after his introduction but did, at least, pose a threat. Which was more that can be said for Mount, who remains quality – but in need of a rest.
Southgate defends cautious approach
Speaking after the game, England boss Gareth Southgate defended his side’s cautious approach against Scotland.
“It feels difficult in the last 15 minutes of a game like tonight where fans are desperate for you to go forward and abandon shape, because it’s Scotland, it feels like a unique occasion, but we have to still approach it that a point is still an important step towards qualification, which ultimately is the first objective for us,” said Southgate.
“I think in those moments, if we had to chase to win with no consequence for conceding, you might approach it differently; but all the time, it’s a night where it was a bit frantic, it wasn’t a game with a huge amount of control, and you have to make sure that sitting on three points as we were, you manage the tournament as well as the game.
“It’s easy to gamble towards the end, and lose shape, and then end up losing the game in the last five minutes, then you’re kicking yourself for not managing the tournament. I understand we’re at Wembley, we wanted to win, but in the context of the tournament qualification is the most important thing.
“It’s a game where we didn’t hit the levels we wanted to, or need to, and have to accept whatever comes our way, I’ll have to accept whatever comes my way, I totally understand that, but what we need to do is make sure we get behind the players.
“There’s a lot of young players who need the support of everybody – most of them haven’t been involved in a game like that before, they’ll learn a lot and bounce back from it, but they need everybody behind them.”