Humbling, chastening, chastening chuck in all the words you like to label England’s 4-0 demolition by Hungary and it will complete about right. It was a historic effect and for all the mistaken details as England noted their worst home fall since 1928, and it sets alarm bells ringing with just 5 months and 2 international matches left before the Three Lions head to Qatar for the World Cup.
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A crude England was at 6 and sevens in unaware surroundings at Molineux, with John Stones sent off to add affront to injury and turning off a horror display against a side they were tilted to easily beat. There are now even calls from some irate fans for boss Gareth Southgate to be sacked before the World Cup begins, despite foremost England to 3rd place at the 2018 Football World Cup and then the EU 2020 final.
It is very unlikely the FA would reflect on pulling the trigger on Southgate shortly, but the coach still has a plethora of qualms that will keep him awake at night as the rivalry in the Middle East edges closer. Sportsmail takes a look at each of these insistent issues that Southgate must address to restore sureness to a wounded squad and bring back hopes of ending their 56-year trophy lack.
Football World Cup: Decide On the No 1 Keeper
Winning just his 3rd England cap, it was barely a ringing endorsement of Aaron Ramsdale that he let in 4 against Hungary as he bids to sway Southgate that he should wear the belts in Qatar. The England No 1 jersey has been there for attractive for some years. While Jordan Pickford was Everton’s player of the term, he has endured a difficult season with the club complex in a demotion battle.
While Burnley’s Nick Pope hurt the drop to the Championship and Ramsdale was helpless to stop Arsenal’s defeat in the top four battle. Ramsdale has often been intricate in the England set-up without really being a candidate, but his impressive displays with Arsenal have given hope he could start putting weight on Pickford. But in his 1st real chance against Hungary, he missed it.
Getting a touch but letting a shot fly past him for their 1st goal. The second 1 squeezed over him. The 3rd he could do nothing about, but for the 4th he charged out then stayed still, allowing the Hungary player to lob the ball over his head. The standard of England’s goalkeepers has been poor for some time
England’s current top choices have hurt hard times at their clubs. England can only hope their keepers have solid starts to the season and then Southgate must make a stable choice and stick with it. The team do not need another recurrence of Fabio Capello’s decision to start with Rob Green in 2010 and then switch to David James mid-Contest.
FIFA World Cup: SORT OUT THE DEFENCE
It touches strange to think England had the best defence at EU 2020, letting in just 2 goals and keeping 5 clean sheets, but fast forward one year and you still feel wary about gullible anyone to do a solid job. John Stones and Harry Maguire were England’s 1st choice centre-back pairing last summer and both shined.
But Maguire has had a ruined season for Manchester United and his sureness has taken a knock. Stones has had plights of his own in the last year, but against Hungary he was awful. He has sufficient knowledge now and should lead by example. His poor header led to the 1st goal and he was intimidated by Adam Szalai all night long before being sent for an early bath with a 2nd yellow.
Southgate has presented the likes of Marc Guehi the Crystal Palace defender who trapped the eye last period and he fared better than Stones, but the coach wants more quality options. England fans will recall when the team was spoiled in defence with the likes of Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, Jamie Carragher, Sol Campbell and Ledley King as choices.
England needs that forte in-depth but they just don’t have it. Conor Coady and Tyrone Mings have also been part of England setups lately, but both play for clubs struggling in the mid-table. Joe Gomez is an option but is very injury prone and out of the Liverpool 1st side. In-form AC Milan star Fikayo Tomori started the last match against Italy and helped keep a clean sheet. For more know about Football World cup Tickets Click here.
He is a player Southgate should be making to texture part of the gear. Southgate himself was a defender, but Tuesday’s night self-justifying display was woeful. He has proven he knows in what way to set the team up properly to shore things up but has known twice during this 2-week international break that he got the balance wrong. Better to experiment now than in November, but he must learn lessons rapidly.
AND THE LEFT-BACK CONUNDRUM
There was a time when the side was full of quality on either flank, but at the instant, it looks like Southgate is being forced to use his teeming number of right-backs on the opposite side. Luke Shaw ongoing most of England’s EU 2020 campaign – scoring the opener against Italy in the final but had a season to forget with Manchester United and was left out of Southgate’s new team for the Nations League due to injury.
Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell has also been out hurt long-term, leaving Southgate with few options as he obvious to bring in Leicester’s James Justin, though he was hooked at halftime in England’s 1st defeat to Hungary at the start of June. Kieran Trippier – who was chosen to play on the left side in the Euro 2020 opener – played solidly in draws against Germany and Italy.
But then Reece James was recruited in to fill the place in the 4-0 loss to Hungary. At right-back, England has Alexander Trent-Arnold, Kyle Walker, Trippier and James, as well as forecasts like Tariq Lamptey, but the selections at left-back need to be stronger. Southgate exhibited he was not overly keen on Chilwell after the Chelsea man botched to kick a ball at the Euros last year,
And he requires better depth to ensure there aren’t right-sided players satisfying in. Palace’s Tyrick Mitchell was called up in March after an excellent season at Selhurst Park but missed out this time, while Ryan Sessegnon could be 1 to keep an eye on after chronic form with Tottenham under Antonio Conte.
We know Southgate has his favourites. There is a touch that Harry Maguire could have weekly shockers and be released by his club and he’d still start for England. England’s team should be chosen on merit – a privilege that is earned. There are too many players in the group that have been certain despite not having outstanding periods for their clubs.
Kalvin Phillips has been mediocre for Leeds, while there have been better defenders than Conor Coady, but both have ongoing games during this 4-game run. Southgate has ignored players like Eric Dier, who has been 1 of Tottenham’s better defenders to help them earn a place in the top 4.
On the flip side, Southgate is letting plenty of good talent left-over away on the bench such as Jack Grealish, who has certain star quality but doesn’t appear to have the backing of his boss to start matches. Tammy Abraham has just shattered 21 goals for Roma in the Italian top flight but has only been given 1 match out of four to show.
He can fight with Harry Kane for a place in the forward line. He has also shelved the likes of Jadon Sancho, who played just once at EU 2020 last summer, but while he has been under-par this season with Man United, the player was riding the crest of a wave last year after a standout campaign with Dortmund.
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