3 things Southgate got wrong including odd selections as England draw vs Ukraine

  • Bookmark
  • For the latest from the pitch sign up for our football newsletter

    Thank you for subscribing!

    For the latest from the pitch sign up for our football newsletter

    We have more newsletters

    England laboured to a 1-1 draw against Ukraine as they dropped points for the first time in their Euro 2024 qualifying group.

    Oleksandr Zinchenko gave the ‘home side’ the lead to send the fans in Wroclaw, Poland delirious before Kyle Walker levelled with his maiden Three Lions goal shortly before half-time.

    Gareth Southgate’s dominated possession throughout the contest but struggled to create clear-cut chances against an organised Ukraine side.

    Daily Star Sport picks out three things Southgate got wrong…

    READ MORE: Kyle Walker finally bags first England goal in 77th game – 12 years after debut

    Picking his favourites – again

    Shock, horror, Harry Maguire, who has played just a few minutes for Manchester United this season, was named in the starting line-up. Saudi-based Jordan Henderson was there too.

    Yes, they’re reliable performers for England and neither had particularly bad games, but we know what they offer and both will be on the plane to Germany next summer.

    What did you think of England's performance against Ukraine? Tell us in the comments section below

    The argument not to play Maguire in this one is obvious – a lack of game time. But there are big question marks over Henderson too. Southgate said he has been watching his club games in the Middle East, but it’s a very small sample.

    How has he seen enough to know the standard is befitting of an England start? Amid all the world stars Saudi has attracted, there’s still plenty of dross in that league too.

    If Henderson gets half a season under his belt and Southgate decides the standard is good enough, fair enough. But it’s too soon.

    Allowing Kane to play so deep

    England are incredibly lucky to have Harry Kane, who is not just a world-class striker but a world-class playmaker, as the equaliser demonstrated.

    As England struggled to unpick a stubborn Ukraine defence, Kane did what he usually does, drop deeper and deeper. And it paid off as the Bayern Munich man produced an exquisite pass for Walker’s goal.

    But against Europe’s best in Germany next summer, Kane will be needed at the sharp end more often because England simply don’t possess the firepower to replace him in that part of the pitch. Yes, it worked today but these remaining qualifiers are largely immaterial now.

    England have one foot and four toes in Germany. It’s time to start trying things with a view to the Euros – different players, different tactics. If that means a few draws and the odd defeat, so what?

    More responsibility needs to be given to the likes of James Maddison, Bukayo Saka and Jude Bellingham.

    Hooking Bellingham

    Aside from Kane, Jude Bellingham is going to be England's main man in Germany. He can become something of a talisman for the team and has already settled in seamlessly at Real Madrid.

    Yes, he didn’t have a great game against Ukraine, but the best players can produce something even when they’re not in peak form.

    So wise and experienced for such a young man, Bellingham needs to be given more responsibility by Southgate.

    • England Football Team

    Source: Read Full Article