Joe Cole calls England's performance in Italy loss 'UNACCEPTABLE'

Joe Cole warns England NEED to be braver at the World Cup and claims Gareth Southgate’s side have ‘lost their way’ after they suffered Nations League relegation with defeat to Italy

  • England suffered a 1-0 defeat to Italy in the Nations League at the San Siro
  • The result sees Gareth Southgate’s side relegated from their group
  • Joe Cole said England ‘have to be braver’ after the disappointing result

Former Chelsea star Joe Cole has urged England ‘to be braver’ after Gareth Southgate’s team fell to a 1-0 Nations League loss against Italy.

In a rematch of last year’s European Championship final, England lacked inspiration going forward and the first half ended goalless.

Though the home side will not feature in the upcoming World Cup after failing to qualify, it was Roberto Mancini’s team that broke the deadlock on 68 minutes through Napoli forward Giacomo Raspadori.

Gareth Southgate’s team suffered another disappointing result against Italy in the Nations League

England were ultimately unable to wrestle control of the game back from their opponents and the game ended with yet another disappointing result in the competition for Southgate’s team – meaning relegation in to the second tier of the Nations League.

Speaking on Channel 4 following the game, Cole outlined what he believes are the primary issues within the England squad:

‘It was the manner we started the game. The Italians were on it and we weren’t getting close to them. The problems that keep surfacing.

‘These lads have got the ability. They’re top drawer players. Jude Bellingham, a 19-year-old, was our best player tonight. But that’s unacceptable with the quality we’ve got because they have got the ability.’

But Joe Cole hailed Jude Bellingham’s performance in the 1-0 loss at the San Siro

The 40-year-old won 56 caps for England and cemented his starting place at the 2006 World Cup in Germany after impressing in the games prior to the tournament.

Well aware of just how crucial making a good impression ahead of a major competition can be, Cole outlined the significance of England’s final pre-tournament fixture against Germany.

‘It puts huge onus on the game. It’s the last game we’ll play as a group before we’re in Qatar. There is personality, there is character in this group, but they’ve lost their way over the last five or six games. They can find it. Gareth Southgate’s got to find a way to galvanise this group over this next week.’ 

Cole also stressed the importance of England having a better showing in their final game before the World Cup

Cole wasn’t the only former international to share their opinion on the team’s disappointing performance in Milan.

The result marks England’s relegation from their Nations League group, and Matthew Upson said that the result only further articulates the issues within the team at this time.

‘Having the word ‘relegation’ at the moment for this group of players is just rubbing salt into the wounds. It’s about the performance or the lack of performance as a team by being able to be creative, cohesive and gel with that kind of movement and it’s passing. It’s not particularly smooth at the moment.

‘I thought the distances and the angles especially in wide areas weren’t quite right. They weren’t pulling off each other in the right angles and creating that space. The movement wasn’t there,’ The former West Ham star explained on 5 Live.

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