Gareth Southgate
Gareth Southgate has got his team selections wrong at Euro 2024 Image Credit: Reuters

England fans are known for being a tad over the top when it comes to commenting on the national team, but we are in real danger of our Euro 2024 campaign descending into misery if we don’t put in an impressive display against Slovenia.

Get exclusive content with Gulf News WhatsApp channel

England may still well be unbeaten in the tournament and are basically through to the knockout stage, winning their opening group game against Sebia before picking up a point against the Danes, but it’s the manner of the way we’ve gone about things that has been cause for concern.

I wrote before that tournament that England manager, Gareth Southgate, needed to learn from his errors of previous tournaments by letting his band of merry men off the leash in Germany.

Instead, Southgate doesn’t seem to have learnt a thing.

After going up a goal early on against Serbia, England then went back to their same routine of sitting back and defending the lead rather than going full throttle to kill the game off. The Serbs grew into the game and could have quite easily snatched a draw at Arena AufSchalke.

Just four days later, England once again took the lead thanks to talisman Harry Kane slotting home from close range. Just as they have done in too many games too count, England quickly went on the defensive, lacked intensity and looked like they were afraid to press the ball.

Denmark deservedly equalised and can count themselves unlucky they didn’t leave Frankfurt with all three points.

How can a team that is full of the world’s best players look so fragile on the biggest stage?

Harry Kane
Harry Kane has failed to be a threat for England Image Credit: Reuters

Jude Bellingham was the star player for Real Madrid last year, Phil Foden won the Premier League’s Player of the Season and Kane was scoring goals for fun in the Bundesliga. Aside from Bellingham in the opening half of the first game, all three have looked a shell of their normal selves.

It would be wrong to pick out just them three star names. The truth is, everyone on the pitch hasn’t played to the level that they are a capable of.

While players have the final say on the result after 90 minutes, the poor displays all come back to Southgate’s lack of tactical nous.

He’s been blessed with arguably too many attacking options and has failed to find a lineup that lets them shine.

Euro 2024

Playing Phil Foden on the left has not worked, while starting Trent Alexandar Arnold in midfield has been an experiment that was always destined to failed.

While the Liverpool player is undeniably one of the best passers of the ball in the game, he lacks the mindset of a midfielder and has often found himself out of position, leaving mountains of space for our opposition.

Fans have been quick to have a pop at Alexander Arnold, but he should never have been put in that position in the first place.

Meanwhile, Kane has failed to replicate the form that saw him score a remarkable 36 goals in his maiden campaign for Bayern Munich. In Germany, Kane had the pace of Leroy Sane, Jamal Musiala and Serge Gnabry on the wings to help run behind the Englishman to create space.

Foden is blessed with plenty of attacking attributes, but raw pace isn’t one of them. Playing him on the left hasn’t worked, in fact, it has hindered England as he has regularly found himself occupying the same space as Kane.

These problems have been evident since the game against Serbia, but Southgate chose to ignore them and play the same team again when facing Denmark.

Albert Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

If England are to utilise their strongest squad in years and end 58 years without a trophy, Southgate must make changes against Slovenia tomorrow night.

If he doesn’t, the Three Lions can wave goodbye to their greatest chance of hoisting silverware in Berlin on July 14.