England’s best player has been Jordan Pickford. I look at Pickford and there’s a lot of people who have changed their opinions because he’s made saves that have been so important.
He did that again last night with a save from Timo Werner. Everything he’s done so far has been spot on.
I know people think the fact he’s had to make so many good saves shows where England are, but at the end of the day Pickford has been their most outstanding and consistent player.
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Southgate hardly a tactical mastermind

Gareth Southgate of England gives out instructions after Raheem Sterling scored a goal to make it 1-0 during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Round of 16 match between England and Germany at Wembley Stadium

Image credit: Getty Images

Everyone will say now Gareth Southgate got his tactics right, but I’m not so sure. England don’t win that game and he got it wrong. I don’t think it’s right to go 100 per cent all in on Southgate and his tactics. In a certain way we’re fortunate that we haven’t come up against the best teams and certainly not the best German side we’ve seen in a while. If we came up against a side that plays with more energy, like the Italians, we would have struggled.
I’m not suddenly going to come out and say he got it right because we won the game. I would be wary of what might have happened if Germany had finished off the chances. You look at Thomas Muller and Werner.

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Muller doesn’t usually miss chances like the one he had and Werner plays with virtually no confidence. It will go down as a good safe from Pickford, but the Germans had the two clearest opportunities and they didn’t take them.
That was the difference really. They could have gone one nil up, which would have opened England up, or they could have got the game back to 1-1. They let those opportunities slip.
Southgate has no idea what his best team is, as far as I can see. He’s happy to play three at the back because that allows him to chop and change. He had Bukayo Saka playing, but he could bring in Phil Foden easily. He can bring in Jack Grealish, as he did against Germany.
Southgate uses this system so he can bring players in and out. The next game against Ukraine, I think he’s got to get in Mason Mount. Somehow he’s got to fit him into the team and I think he will do, without a shadow of a doubt.
He won’t keep the same team. It’ll be easier to fit Mount in with three at the back. If you look at the amount of ball Germany had, maybe it wasn’t quite right. A team with a higher energy will be needed, I think.

Kane’s inclusion continues to baffle

Despite scoring, Raheem Sterling didn’t have the best of games in my opinion. He gave the ball away to Muller to get that golden opportunity. He scored the goal and has three now. He’s been our goalscorer and you can’t take that away from him. Matchwinning goals too.
Anyone could have made an impact against Germany because it was flat. England were very flat. Gareth Southgate took his time to make a substution. Grealish made a difference when he came on. The Germans had to change because England changed the way they were playing. The hard work was done by the players who were on initially. They wore Germany down and Grealish had fresh legs and was able to capitalise.

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Harry Kane’s goal doesn’t hide his last four performances in an England shirt, as far as I’m concerned. He’s been poor and it’s not just about scoring goals. Forget about scoring goals, as a player, as a footballer in that England side, he’s been poor.
If I’m Dominic Calvert-Lewin I must be thinking to myself I’m not getting a game because no one can play that poor and keep playing. Everyone is saying Kane has got to play, but surely we have to say he’s not doing enough for the team?

England have to reach Euro 2020 final

Raheem Sterling of England celebrates the opening goal during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Round of 16 match between England and Germany at Wembley Stadium on June 29, 2021 in London, United Kingdom.

Image credit: Getty Images

This is England’s best chance to win a tournament in a long, long time. But that’s been said before and then England went and got beat by Iceland. That can’t be forgotten and shouldn’t be.
Playing Ukraine is no guarantee. No one expected Ukraine to get to the quarter-finals, but they are there and you have to respect them. If we take Ukraine for granted then the Germany game means nothing.
If any England player thinks they’ve done the hard bit beating Germany, then they’re in for a wake-up call. That was one of the easiest games Southgate will manage. He didn’t have to get the players up for that game.
They knew what it meant to themselves and everybody else to go and win that game. It can only be seriously backed up if they get to the final. We’ve beaten Germany in a tournament and our side of the draw is practically a gift, we’ve got to reach the final.
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26/09/2022 AT 17:56