Southgate explains curious England team selection

Date published: Tuesday 8th September 2020 10:40

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England boss Gareth Southgate explained his reasoning behind what many perceived to be a negative team selection, while Jack Grealish admitted his long-awaited debut had made him emotional.

England underwhelmed for the second time in four days, but this time were made to settle for a draw in Denmark.

Offering a defence for his team selection that didn’t lend itself to free-flowing football, Southgate told Sky Sports: “I learned a lot.

“We tried a new system which we will get better at. We wanted to start with stability.

“We could’ve probably been a bit higher in terms of our attacking threat in the first half but we were in control and that’s unsurprising given where the players are at.

“In the second half we started to accelerate the game with the changes we made when we felt in control. Mason [Mount] and Jack [Grealish] in midfield made us more forward thinking.

“I was very impressed with the guys who made their debuts and the back three for us today were very solid.”

“We looked very secure and defensively that’s a great platform to build on. We’ll look to develop it for higher quality opposition.

“We’re still learning about Declan [Rice] and Kalvin [Phillips]. For 15 minutes it took both of them a while to get going. I think it gave us stability.

“We made changes to accelerate it and be more forward thinking but Mason [Mount] has never played that role before so you are asking him to do something he never has done.”

On missing a left-footed player: “But where is that player? I think [Kieran] Trippier has had two excellent games for us. [Ben] Chilwell is injured, Shaw is injured, Danny [Rose] has not really been involved with Spurs at the moment. We adapted in the best way we could.”

Regarding Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood’s recent transgressions, Southgate added: “I’ve spoken to both of them as I said yesterday they know what happened is unacceptable on both a Covid basis and, as I’ve learned more details, on any basis. Either way they would have gone home.

“The consequence has been there and they now need support. Everyone is wading in on them. They need help to rebuild. They understand the expectations of being an England player. We must help young people back on their feet.”

On whether Greenwood or Foden could return in October’s international break: “A lot of trust must be built first. My mindset is not to hurt these boys any more.”

Aston Villa talisman Jack Grealish finally made his much-anticipated England debut as a late substitute, and revealed the occasion had been something he had dreamed off as a youngster.

“I was actually a bit emotional,” he told Sky Sports. “It’s something you dream of. Everyone dreams as a little kid of playing for England.

“It was such a privilege coming on and it’s a shame we couldn’t get the win in the end. I want to thank Gareth [Southgate] for giving me the opportunity and hopefully it is the first of many.

“I got told to warm up and I stayed out there for 10, 15 minutes until I got the call. When I did it was obviously a brilliant moment for me. I’m sure I’ll have a few messages but it’s obviously a brilliant day for myself and one of the best of my career so far.

“It’s my first game and I was happy with how I’ve done with my debut and as I say hopefully it’s the first of a few. I’ve enjoyed every single minute. Everyone has made me feel welcome here.”

On Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood: “I’ve tried not to look into it too much. They’re young kids who will learn. It’s my first England camp myself and I’ve just focused on myself and tried to impress the manager.

“They’re both brilliant kids and I’m sure they’ll learn from what they’ve done.”

 

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