CHRIS SUTTON: This wasn’t the kind of showing that makes you think England will win the World Cup

England manager Gareth Southgate's side looked without rhythm and continuity against Italy


CHRIS SUTTON: Do we just accept this? Gareth Southgate doesn’t play heavy-metal football but the lack of courage and confidence is harming his side… this wasn’t the kind of performance that makes you think England are going to win the World Cup

  • England are relegated from the Nations League A after defeat to Italy
  • Manager Gareth Southgate’s side lacked rhythm and continuity in match
  • The Three Lions won’t win the World Cup by playing teams off of the pitch
  • England looked more dangerous trying to play on the counter-attack 
  • Click here for all the latest World Cup 2022 news and updates

If what Gareth Southgate wanted was a performance, then this wasn’t it. It wasn’t the kind of performance that makes you think as a fan that England are going to win the World Cup.

When Southgate plays bigger sides, he’s going to go with a back three but it was all pretty lacklustre. Whether previous results played into their minds, I’m not sure but there was a real lack of rhythm and continuity.

They didn’t get flowing all night. Neither side did. It’s amazing to think these two were supposedly the best sides on the continent when they got to the final of the Euros last year.

England manager Gareth Southgate's side looked without rhythm and continuity against Italy

England manager Gareth Southgate’s side looked without rhythm and continuity against Italy

England won’t win in Qatar by playing the teams off the pitch and they certainly looked more of a threat on the counter.

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On the plus side, Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham showed some really nice touches. Bellingham deserves his opportunity.

He’s always looking to move forward with the ball and break through the lines but England didn’t get him on the ball enough. They’ll need his bravery and willingness to progress up the pitch in Qatar.

Phil Foden was one bright spark for England as he showed some good moments for England

Phil Foden was one bright spark for England as he showed some good moments for England

Another positive was that England didn’t concede many big chances. Eric Dier came in and looked assured. Starting Bukayo Saka was an interesting call at left back.

It’s a tough ask to go to the other side of the pitch and I’m not saying he isn’t capable but it was a trial by the manager that didn’t work out how he wanted.

I suppose the argument is that England looked OK defensively but with the World Cup just two months away, are they playing with enough bravery and confidence?

It’s not heavy metal football but it never has been under Gareth. Do we just have to accept this?

Usual winger Bukayo Saka made his first appearance for England as a left-wing back

Usual winger Bukayo Saka made his first appearance for England as a left-wing back

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