JERMAINE JENAS: England’s failure to beat Scotland was disappointing, but there is a LONG way to go at Euro 2020… Gareth Southgate was hailed as a genius after beating Croatia, now he’s out of his depth. We all need to settle down
- England’s failure to beat Scotland on Friday night was incredibly disappointing
- But we need to calm down as it is not the end of the world we didn’t beat them
- One thing that disappointed me was how boss Gareth Southgate used his bench
- The Three Lions boss should have looked to get Jack Grealish in the No.10 role
- We also need to be getting the best out of our captain and striker Harry Kane
England’s failure to beat Scotland and the manner of the performance were certainly disappointing, but I still think we all need to calm down.
I was in the stadium with the England fans on Friday night and the supporters chatting away on the concourses were really, really unhappy.
And in all honesty they had every right to be. We weren’t great. In fact we were poor. That’s the truth and there’s no escaping that fact.
England’s failure to beat Scotland was disappointing, but I still think we all need to calm down
But we as a nation need to learn to start managing expectations. Just a few days ago, after he had pulled off a tactical masterclass against Croatia which many fans had questioned, Gareth Southgate was a genius, the greatest thing since sliced bread.
He makes a few changes against Scotland, they draw 0-0 and suddenly he’s tactically out of his depth.
Can I just say: It’s not the end of the world that we didn’t smash the Scots at Wembley. In fact, I’d far rather we have this performance now, in a group game when we already had three points on the board, than in a quarter-final or a semi-final.
Look, I get why we all feel so flat. The game had been built up as though it was the biggest game on the planet. We’d been building it up since the draw was made and all we’d seen in the days before were clips of Gazza and how we were going to roll over this weak Scotland side. It was going to be Euro ‘96 all over again, history was going to repeat itself.
Just days ago, when England beat Croatia, the nation through Gareth Southgate was a genius
He makes changes vs Scotland – bringing in Luke Shaw – and suddenly he is out of his depth
We’d built it up ludicrously and maybe that got through to the players because it certainly seemed to get through to the fans. The Scotland fans were in full voice and singing their hearts out but our supporters seemed as flat as the players.
There were definitely mistakes made by players and management but they’ll reflect on those and try to make sure those errors aren’t repeated.
The one thing that really disappointed me as the game wore on was Gareth’s failure to use his bench properly. We have so much artillery on there but he finished up playing it very safe to the point where I reckon he was thinking he didn’t want to lose this, rather than, ‘how do I go and win this’?
But those moments are when you make the big changes, not like for like switches, but something altogether more radical. Because Scotland were comfortable. I don’t think they ever looked like beating us, but they were comfortable. And Gareth had so many options. Maybe change the system to a 4-2-3-1 by bringing off Declan Rice or Kalvin Phillips and trying Jack Grealish in the 10 role.
It is not the end of the world that we didn’t smash the Scottish side on Friday night
The one thing that really disappointed me was Gareth’s failure to use his bench properly
Switch the wingers. Phil Foden, the best English player this season, has spent the campaign with Manchester City on the left side, so give him a run there.
Maybe even bring Dominic Calvert-Lewin on, go two up top and see how they cope with that threat. There were options and lots of them. Andrew Robertson had had an easy night — would it have been had Jadon Sancho come on for the last 20?
Every now and again you get caught in the headlights and get it wrong and Gareth will reflect on that afterwards, break it down and say ‘you know what, we need to be braver in those situations’. They will all — players, manager, staff — be disappointed because they will know that they have missed a great opportunity.
It’s not as though Gareth shies away from the big decisions — he took his captain off for heaven’s sake. It’s one thing knowing it’s the right call, another thing actually making it.
The Three Lions manager should have looked to get Jack Grealish in the No.10 role
Southgate should have switched the wingers. Phil Foden, the best English player this season, has spent the campaign with Manchester City on the left side, so give him a run there
Now I hope Gareth makes changes against the Czechs who, let’s face it, are going to set up like the Scots and try to be compact and hard to beat. And they’ve got four points as well so they don’t need to take any chances.
I’d like to see Jack Grealish come in. Honestly, the only occasions when the fans really got excited on Friday night was when Grealish started warming up and when he came on.
I’d like to see Phil Foden switched to the left and I’d like to see Jude Bellingham come in alongside either Declan Rice or Kalvin Phillips, just play him a little bit further up. When he came on against Croatia he added something, a kind of energy and, when you are that young, you are fearless. He’s 17-years-old and thinks everything is possible.
We also need to be getting the best out of our captain and star striker Harry Kane (above)
But the big problem for Gareth to solve — and it’s one he has to solve — is how to get the best out of Harry Kane and Phil Foden, our two best players. That’s the most serious conversation he needs to be having.
But the goals will come for Harry Kane as he gets minutes and, when he gets one, even something scruffy or a penalty, he’ll be off and all the panic will seem misplaced.
So let’s remember, this is tournament football and there’s a long way to go. So let’s just all settle down.
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