England boss Gareth Southgate was unhappy with his forwards’ closing down during first-half of Sunday’s friendly victory against Romania… and told his side that he expects better in fiery half-time team talk
Gareth Southgate laid down the law to his forwards during a fiery half-time team talk amid growing concerns about England’s lack of closing down.
The Three Lions boss was unhappy with the way his forward line, which consisted of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Marcus Rashford, Jack Grealish and Jadon Sancho, pressed Romania during the first 45 minutes at the Riverside.
Southgate spoke of his dismay at his team’s defending after Sunday’s win and it has now emerged the England boss told his players in no uncertain terms that he expects better.
Gareth Southgate laid down the law to his forwards during a half-time team talk on Sunday
The England boss was unhappy with the likes of Jadon Sancho (L) and the forwards’ pressing
‘There is a lot of work to be done on the training ground. We cannot give up the number of chances we did today and expect not to be punished,’ said Southgate.
Sancho, Grealish and Rashford will now be sweating on their starting places for England’s opener against Croatia on Sunday.
If Harry Kane does not pick up an injury this week, Calvert-Lewin will start the tournament on the bench, while Sancho can also expect a substitute’s role at Wembley this weekend.
Rashford and Grealish harbour hopes of breaking into Southgate’s first team — though they are still in the dark over their chances of a starting berth.
Marcus Rashford still harbours hope of breaking into Southgate’s starting XI for Sunday
Grealish has been a standout performer since breaking into the squad last season, while Rashford has long been one of Southgate’s key attackers.
But with the emergence of Phil Foden and Mason Mount — and Raheem Sterling still a key member of the squad — Grealish and Rashford are not guaranteed starts.
England players were given a day off by Southgate on Monday before preparations begin on Tuesday.
Jack Grealish was man-of-the-match in the friendly victory against Romania at the Riverside
Once they report back for duty, it is unlikely they will be able to see their families during the tournament due to strict Covid rules at St George’s Park.
On how England’s players plan to use their spare time, captain Kane said: ‘We’ve got a cricket pitch and we might get a bit of golf in.
‘Boys will be playing PlayStation, but I’ve just started Game of Thrones. It’ll be finished before the end of the tournament.’