Lineker, Shearer claim there’s ‘problem within England camp’ as players question Southgate tactics

Joe Williams
Former England striker Gary Lineker
Gary Lineker has been outspoken throughout the tournament on the England team.

Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer have suggested that there is a “problem within the England camp” as they assess the Three Lions’ latest performance.

The Three Lions managed to finish top of Group C on five points despite struggling to hit top form in all three of their group games against Serbia, Denmark and Slovenia.

England have also landed on the easier looking side of the draw after Georgia’s unexpected 2-0 win over Portugal on Wednesday night, with Gareth Southgate’s side playing Slovakia in the last 16.

Southgate has faced criticism over his decision to experiment with Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield, as well as other tactics and general team selection.

When asked whether he would take the England manager’s job, Lineker said on the Rest Is Football podcast: “Would I f**k! You’re joking. I’d be terrible.”

“What? To get absolutely hammered? You’ve got millions and millions of people picking the right team.”

Answering the same question, Shearer replied: “I’m not sure they’d pick the team but there’s no question the England players, I think, at the moment, will be going, ‘What is going on on the left-hand side? Why’s Bellingham keep playing in 10 when he’s clearly a midfielder?’

“Sometimes, they might all get together, in a team meeting for example, and air their views.

“You always talk amongst each other. You’re not going to go, ‘this is the team I would play’, but there will be certain ones going, ‘Palmer is unlucky not to get a game; I thought Gordon would be an answer to the left-side problem’.”

Lineker and Shearer have both been critics of Southgate’s tactics over the summer with his refusal to move Jude Bellingham into midfield or play Anthony Gordon and Cole Palmer particularly frustrating the former England duo.

Former England striker Lineker added: “I’m not sure they’d pick the team but there’s no question the England players, I think, at the moment, will be going, ‘What is going on on the left-hand side? Why’s Bellingham keep playing in 10 when he’s clearly a midfielder?’

“Sometimes, they might all get together, in a team meeting for example, and air their views.

“You always talk amongst each other. You’re not going to go, ‘this is the team I would play’, but there will be certain ones going, ‘Palmer is unlucky not to get a game; I thought Gordon would be an answer to the left-side problem’.”

Shearer continued: “There’s loads of reasons why they would do that.

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“We’ve analysed loads of reasons on what could be better but there is no doubt the players will speak to each other and say, ‘Why are we doing that?’, and the leadership group or the captain may go to the manager and say, ‘This is what’s been said’, or, ‘This is what we feel’, and they’re well within their rights to do that, but the managers make their own decisions.”

Lineker chipped in: “Do you think there’s a problem within the England camp? There seems to be. There’s a few cryptic messages coming out from players in interviews.”

Shearer replied: “It has not really happened much under Gareth, but [now is] more so than it has ever happened under his time. Players are saying different things. ‘We struggled with the press or struggling with three at the back’, ‘We know we didn’t play well’.

“And with Gareth saying it’s because of the circumstances, it seems a bit mixed up at the minute.”

The Newcastle United legend added: “It’s amazing isn’t it, the life of a manager, the love that Gareth was getting all those years ago? And now you can see the reaction. But that can change, can’t it?”