England manager Gareth Southgate is afraid that his players will have to do ‘a lot of work’ to even be considered as one of the title contenders in the upcoming Euro 2020. The British coach emphasized specially on the defensive loopholes that still remain in the team. In fact, he has termed England’s defense as ‘not good enough’, warning his players to buckle up if they want to succeed in the tournament.
The three lions have done pretty well in the two friendlies that they played so far as preparation for the Euros. After last week’s comfortable win over Austria, Gareth Southgate’s men registered another 1-0 victory against Romania. Southgate’s words of concern regarding England’s defence despite them maintaining two consecutive clean sheets raises questions, but it is probably nothing more than the Englishman being a strict boss.
In the two friendlies that England played, Gareth Southgate has spotted many aspects in which they need improvement.
What did Gareth Southgate say?
On being asked about his side’s defensive work, Gareth Southgate answered
“I didn’t like us without the ball in the first half but that was the whole team. That started from the front.”
“We weren’t disciplined in the way we defended. Our recovery runs were not good enough. It meant that the midfield was stretched and the back players had too many decisions to make.
“They were having to come into spaces where they shouldn’t have needed to be.”
“Without doubt we can improve on that. I have also got to allow the team that played the reality that we had made a lot of changes” and had to preserve some players and give others minutes that they needed.
“There is a lot of work to be done on the training ground as, without a doubt, we cannot give up the number of chances we did [against Romania] and not expect to be punished.”
“We can improve on all the small details in the two performances we have had. We were able to pick up a lot of learnings from the first game and feed them into [Sunday’s game]. You know, some of the things on discipline and details on defending set plays.”
Still finding the best starting XI
The 2020-21 season has been physically very challenging for the players due to the strict schedule and the pattern continues in the Euros. Gareth Southgate therefore mentioned that he is open to keep on rotating the playing 11 throughout the tournament.
He added: “The best team for the game with Croatia may not be the best team for the game with Scotland. We have to make sure we get those calls right.”
“Of course myself and Steve [Holland] have monitored these players so closely for 12 months so although we learn from these games, there are also things in those matches that we have seen over a longer period of time.”
“So we are not surprised by things. These matches confirm things for us.”
“I go away and have my individual thoughts but all of my coaches are the same and we come together and discuss those things and thrash them around and test the robustness of any decisions we are deciding on.”
“But we have another week’s training to get through as well.”
“Every time I have ever written a team down on a scrap of paper over the last 12 months I have had to get the pencil with the rubber out and change it because we have lost people. So I am loath to pen it in ink.”
“Hopefully we can avoid any injury or illness issues in the next few days.”
The only setback for England in the last two weeks, has been the injury of TAA. English right-back Trent Alexander Arnold suffered an unfortunate injury in the friendly match against Austria and was forced to pull out of the tournament was a major blow to the english side.
England will kick off their Euro 2020 campaign on 13th June against Croatia.