Countdown to Euro 2020: Daily briefing
Gareth Southgate confirmed Ben White as likely the final piece to his England squad after losing Trent Alexander-Arnold to injury with the Brighton defender providing cover for Harry Maguire, who is contending with an injury just days out from the start of Euro 2020.
The Three Lions are now finalising preparation for the opener on Sunday against Croatia, while fellow Group D opponents Scotland will face Czech Republic on Monday.
Wales will be the first of the home nations to play in Euro 2020 when they kick off against Switzerland on Saturday.
Southgate must now finalise his line-up against the World Cup finalists after losing the Liverpool star last Thursday after sustaining an injury in the 1-0 friendly victory over Austria on Wednesday.
England emerged 1-0 winners again on Sunday against Romania, courtesy of a Marcus Rashford penalty, and now Southgate has opted for the Brighton star in place of Alexander-Arnold, perhaps hinting at Harry Maguire’s injury status.
“Absolutely,” Southgate said when asked if he wants to see a defensive improvement from the Three Lions. “I didn’t like us without the ball in the first half but that was the whole team. That started from the front.
“We weren’t disciplined in the way we defended. Our recovery runs were not good enough. It meant that the midfield was stretched the back players had too many decisions to make. They were having to come in spaces where they shouldn’t have needed to be.
“Without doubt we can improve on that. I have also got to allow the team that played the reality that we had made a lot of changes and had to preserve some players and give others minutes that they needed.
“There is a lot of work to be done on the training ground as without a doubt we cannot give up the number of chances we did today and not expect to be punished.”
Follow all the build-up to Euro 2020 below
Rashford ‘mentally ready’ for Euro 2020 after phone call with Southgate
Rashford has played through the pain barrier this past year, clocking up 57 appearances at club level alone since the start of the season, despite carrying a foot injury during the final months of the campaign.
Jack Rathborn8 June 2021 07:56
Southgate admits defensive weakness and demands Croatia improvement
Gareth Southgate has admitted there is “a lot of work to be done” on England’s defence ahead of Euro 2020 after being disappointed with his side’s performance when out of possession in the narrow friendly win over Romania.
Marcus Rashford’s second-half penalty was ultimately enough for England to back-to-back wins from their two warm-up games but debutant goalkeeper Sam Johnstone was called into action on several occasions at the other end.
Southgate named something of a makeshift starting line-up, with no Chelsea or Manchester City players included after their late arrival to the camp and Harry Maguire still unavailable due to an ankle injury.
Even so, the England manager was not happy with how easily his team were opened up by a side ranked 43rd in the world and who have failed to qualify for this summer’s tournament.
Jack Rathborn8 June 2021 07:56