England Lacked Three Things In Scotland Stalemate ! James - Ward - Prowse
Saturday, 19th Jun 2021 07:48
Those who predicted that Gareth Southgate picked an England squad that concentrated too much on keeping the ball and keeping clean sheets and lacked inspiration had their theories proved right as England lacked a player who could unlock defences.
England had a lot of possession against Scotland, but most of it was around the half way line and on too many occasions we turned back towards our own goal and failed to press forward with any sort of energy.
This seems to be the way that Gareth Southgate wants to play, he wants to drill into his players a work ethic of keeping the ball and and looking for openings, but not at the expense of the chance of losing possession.
The problem was that players that seem to be able to open up defences for their club, seemed muted and almost afraid to try anything.
Up front Harry Kane was a shadow of his former self and it wasn't all his fault, he spent most of the game watching his team mates passing the ball sideways and back and rarely actually trying that killer pass.
Raheem Sterling didn't seem to be capable of taking on his man and indeed didn't even seem to want to, same to with Phil Foden, he has been a revelation with Manchester City but he was a different player for England, why ?
The three midfield players Declan Rice, Mason Mount and Kalvin Phillips were functional but no more, they lacked inspiration and they constantly failed to get the ball through to the front men, Mason mount could be perhaps excused a little, but even he eventually seemed to knuckle down and play the way he was obviously told.
These players are in the main exceptional for their club sides and I can't believe that their good form in the Premier League is because they are surrounded by better players.
But the problem against the Scots was that there was not only an air of negativity in the side, but there were too many players who could not deliver a moment of inspiration, not just in open play but in set pieces, free kicks and corners were usually poor.
Put bluntly Gareth Southgate has picked a side to play in a way and when things don't go to plan he has few in his squad who can change the pattern, he has too many bland players and not enough flare.
Our build ups were slow and lethargic and the ball was passed, but at a pedestrian pace, we could never get Scotland on the back foot enough, when we went forward it was so slow in the build up they had time to get behind the ball and make sure we could not unlock them.
Jack Grealish came on and tried, but too often he was faced with tartan wall in front of him and no options from those around him.
This was a game that cried out for three words, James Ward Prowse, if Southgate had him on the bench, surely he would have been an asset in the last 30 minutes, what was needed was someone who could deliver the ball, Ward Prowse would have quickened the pace and passing in the midfield, he would have upped the tempo, but more importantly would have been his ability to deliver the ball, England had no one who could find Harry Kane in the box, they had no one who could deliver a decent corner and they had no one who could deliver a free kick, either into the box or to have a strike on goal.
Gareth Southgate has failed to put a squad together that has variety, Ok he wants to play a certain type of style, but when that fails you need a plan B and he hasn't got one in the squad JWP would have been the ideal wild card.
But Southgate preferred to take extra defenders who probably won't get a game, he preferred to take Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson who are injured, those two has something in common with James Ward Prowse in that all three of them sat on their arses and watched the game, the difference was that Southgate and England truly needed Ward Prowse at Wembley on Friday night.
Of course i'm biased having watched JWP for the last 9 years, but I do truly believe that the England squad has too many similar players and from that perspective does not have any real game changers aside from Jack Grealish, but that is not enough, Ward Prowse should have been in this England squad and come the end of the tournament Gareth Southgate might just regret that he isn't, I would say that must have gone through his mind last night as his players put in an uninspiring performance with no one able to make that decisive pass.
Photo: Action Images
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