Did Gareth Southgate prove YOU wrong? YOUR COMMENTS during England’s dominant 3-1 win over Italy as the Three Lions clinch Euro 2024 qualification and will head to Germany as one of the teams to beat
- England qualified for Euro 2024 with a 3-1 win over Italy on Tuesday night
- Gareth Southgate’s team selection was vindicated at Wembley
- Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’
Fans questioned Gareth Southgate’s team selection ahead of Tuesday night’s crucial Euro 2024 qualifier against Italy but the England’s boss choices were vindicated.
The Three Lions ran out 3-1 winners at Wembley, at least partially avenging the defeat against the Azzurri on the same ground in the Euro 2020 final and booking their place in next summer’s tournament.
England’s impressive display will serve to reinforce the view that they will head to the tournament as one of the favourites, while Jude Bellingham added to his burgeoning reputation as one of the world’s best players with another brilliant performance.
‘We have to accept the expectation, the reality is we are one of the teams capable [of winning the tournament] – we are comfortable with that,’ said Southgate.
‘The biggest things – mentality we have, good technical players, good physicality – but we have to keep winning big matches like tonight. We showed real composure and took control of the game.’
Gareth Southgate’s team selection on Tuesday night was vindicated by the result
England qualified for Euro 2024 after coming from behind to beat Italy 3-1 at Wembley
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Euro 2024 is the fourth consecutive major championship England have reached in Southgate’s tenure, but the 53-year-old still has some convincing to do going off the comments of Mail Sport readers.
There were plenty who disagreed with Southgate’s team selection, suggesting his perceived cautious approach could backfire.
‘Once again Southgate puts the handbrake on when playing a supposedly bigger nation,’ one reader wrote.
Another added: ‘Two defensive midfielders for a home game and do not get me started on [Harry] Maguire & [Marcus] Rashford. Southgate simply not up to the task he has to go,’ said one.
A third reader added: ‘Gareth makes it is easy for Italy again…why not give Italy something to worry about and go with Maddison too? Scamacca to score and Italy to win.’
The comment was only partially right. While Gianluca Scamacca gave the visitors an early lead, they were pegged back from a Harry Kane penalty shortly after the half hour mark.
Marcus Rashford then finished off a superb team move in the second half to put England ahead, before Kane completed his brace with a well-taken finish.
The result rewarded Southgate’s faith in Rashford, Harry Maguire and Kalvin Phillips – three players plenty wanted him to drop.
The Manchester United striker has been struggling for form so far this season, while his club teammate Maguire has been a peripheral figure at Old Trafford under Erik ten Hag.
Similarly, Phillips’ first-team opportunities at Manchester City have been sporadic at best.
‘Maguire and Philips, is Southgate for real,’ one reader wrote.
The feeling was echoed by several others, with some questioning Southgate’s decision to play Kieran Trippier at left-back, as opposed to his usual right-back role.
‘Stones Maguire Phillips all have hardly played this season but still start, so much for Southgate picking players on form,’ one reader wrote.
Fans questioned Southgate’s decision to hand Kalvin Phillips (left) and Harry Maguire (right) a start despite their limited involvement for their respective clubs
Southgate was also rewarded for keeping faith in Marcus Rashford, who scored England’s second goal to cap up a wonderful move
Another added: ‘Maguire who hardly gets a game for united is in, Phillips is the same for Man City, Dunk should have played, he’s quality. ‘
A third added: ‘No Dunk, Phillips and Rashford in the starting team. Poor,’ while another said: ‘Philips and Maguire shouldn;t be playing. Not playing regularly for their clubs. Another Southgate masterclass in not knowing how to run a football team.
There was more of the same elsewhere: ‘Southgate should be sacked for playing Kalvin Phillips. How can you pick a player who doesn’t play competitive football,’ one wrote.
A fellow reader, meanwhile, argued that ‘The inclusion of Phillips and Maguire – and Trippier at left back – is an insult to English professionals.’
Phillips, who has only started once for City in all competitions this season, admitted he was suffering from a lack of match sharpness and was lucky not be sent off after picking up a clumsy yellow card in the ninth minute.
Phillips, who has only started once for City in all competitions this season, admitted he was suffering from a lack of match sharpness
The City man had to tread carefully in defensive midfield until Southgate substituted him for Jordan Henderson midway through the second half and conceded the poor challenge was down to a lack of match sharpness.
‘I knew it was going to be a yellow card,’ the midfielder admitted. ‘I stuck my leg out and was quite fortunate in the end not to get sent off. Is what it is. It’s football and the type of player I am.
‘As a footballer you always want to be playing and I haven’t done that over last year and half. One thing I want to do is to come in for England and start. I was fine against Scotland and try to make sure I am ready for whatever comes.
‘Gareth played me today and I’m just happy to put the white shirt on again. That’s one thing I want is minutes and I want to go to the Euros.’
And with England on their way to Germany, there was more positivity to be found in the comments section after the final whistle.
England will head to Germany next summer as one of the teams to beat
‘Fantastic win, never seen such a talented England team. Southgate has really built something special,’ one reader wrote.
Another, meanwhile, suggested England will be one of the team to beat next summer.
‘With the possible exception of France, England have a better set of players than any other European side,’ he wrote.
‘Partly down to the decline of Spain, Germany, Italy, Netherlands all at the same time.’
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