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England reporter notebook: Gareth Southgate has big concerns over five key players ahead of Euro 2024 | Football News

The English team continues to be one of the strongest in this Euro Cup. I don’t see a better midfield or attacking unit in any of England’s opponents at the moment. They remain favorites to win the trophy, on paper.

But that’s the real worry for England – their status as favorites is based on their reputation and previous performances. The reality right now is that Gareth Southgate has a number of important problems to face. Most of which are outside of his control.

The home defeat against Iceland cannot be perceived as a simple incident. For me it is a warning. And a sign of the wider problems Southgate is trying to address. While we are still wallowing in the woeful Wembley performance, we must remember that England have only won one of their last five international matches. Does that sound like they are heirs to the European throne?

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Ron Walker and Rob Dorsett reflect on England’s defeat to Iceland and what it could mean for the Euros

Antonio Gordon He called Iceland’s shock a “punch on the nose and a wake-up call.” From what I’m told, that reflects the sentiment of the rest of the team, who have been baffled by England’s poor form of late.

They plan to use this defeat as a motivational factor, as a reminder that it will take a lot more effort and work to win the Euro.

Gareth Southgate has a lot to consider ahead of England's Euro 2024 opener against Serbia on Sunday
Gareth Southgate has a lot to consider ahead of England’s Euro 2024 opener against Serbia on Sunday

The same goes for the manager. Southgate said his players “didn’t show enough character” at Wembley, and that “in a way, it will focus the mind and show that any complacency, or thinking that talent alone will get us this trophy, won’t allow us to win the trophy.” . be enough.”

But I have never before seen an English team so poorly prepared for a big tournament. Many of England’s key players are injured, out of game time or simply exhausted.

Harry Kane, Phil Foden, Judas Bellingham, Bukayo Saka, Juan Piedras: Five world-class players that England rely on so much and none of whom come into this tournament in good condition.

England cannot win the European Championship without those great players performing at a high level. Let’s look at them one by one…

Do you agree with Rob Dorsett’s England XI for their Euro 2024 opener against Serbia on Sunday?

Harry Kane

England’s all-time leading scorer missed Bayern Munich’s final three games of the season with a back problem. It is clear that a back injury is still worrying him and that he is far from his usual match fitness.

The England captain has scored a staggering 49 goals for club and country this season, but has also made 52 appearances. That’s a big workload for a man who will turn 31 next month and is suffering from a minor injury. He hasn’t been able to play the full 90 minutes for five weeks. With all those factors, it’s inevitable that he won’t have his usual sharpness.

That can happen the more you train and play. Assuming she’s capable of it, while England protects her tender back. It’s possible that Kane could peak him in time for the business end of the tournament. He and Southgate desperately hope that is the case.

Harry Kane
Rob Dorsett believes Harry Kane is still struggling with his fitness after missing the latter part of Bayern Munich’s season through injury.

Phil Foden

The Premier League player of the season has been unable to replicate his excellent form for Manchester City in an England shirt. The clamor was for him not to be used on the left wing, but in a central role as a number 10. That is the position he played against Iceland, where, after a bright start, he became increasingly isolated and ineffective. England failed to score and lost the match.

The only other time Foden played that role for England was in November, when Bellingham was injured. Foden also struggled at that time and England drew 2-2 in North Macedonia.

Foden is a true generational talent. He has proven it time and time again with Manchester City. But I get the distinct impression that Southgate and his team are wondering why he can rarely replicate that form in England. Resolving that dilemma will be a priority in training this week.

Is England’s recent form a concern ahead of Euro 2024?

Judas Bellingham

Bellingham has had an incredible season and is rightly considered one of the best talents in world football. He won the Kopa Trophy after being voted the best under-21 player in world football, and is also the UEFA young player of the season. He has won the Champions League, as well as two other national trophies. He managed 23 goals and 13 assists in his first season in Spain. Wow.

But the 20-year-old has made 101 appearances for club and country over the past two seasons. Southgate knows that he is exhausted, which is why he gave him the entire week off before the European Championship to disconnect and recover. But is one week enough?

Jude Bellingham celebrates a goal for England against Belgium
How dependent will England be on Jude Bellingham this summer?

If you dig deeper into Bellingham’s recent performances, the stats aren’t all that impressive. He scored 20 goals in his first 29 games for Madrid. But he has only scored three goals in his last 13 games for his club. And anyone who has watched him over the last month will feel that he has not been able to impact games with the dominance that he had in the first half of the season. His energy levels have dropped.

Bellingham will not train with England until the team is in Germany. Southgate will be praying that his world champion is well rested and ready to play.

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The Times’ Martin Hardy analyzes England’s performance against Iceland and identifies areas Southgate might need to focus on

Bukayo Saka

England’s golden boy and one of the first names in the team’s squad for so many years, is also struggling for fitness. After missing Arsenal’s final game of the season, he was unable to fully participate in England training and was not deemed fit for last Monday’s friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina. He only played 25 minutes against Iceland and struggled to make an impact in that time.

Southgate is confident the winger will be able to increase the intensity of his training in the coming days, but there is a real possibility he will not be included in England’s starting XI for the Euro Cup opener against Serbia.

Cole Palmer’s form for club and country will make it increasingly difficult for Southgate to justify Saka’s inclusion unless there is a significant rise in his levels over the next week.

Juan Piedras

Juan Piedras
John Stones was substituted at half-time during England’s 1-0 defeat to Iceland on Friday.

England’s defense has always been the team’s Achilles heel and now, with a series of injury problems depleting Southgate’s resources, it looks a real concern.

With Harry Maguire not fit enough to make the team of the tournament, the senior martial mantle falls to John Stones, who has only started one Premier League match since mid-March. He desperately needed game time to improve his fitness, but a wayward Icelandic striker fell on his right ankle. He was substituted at half-time, as a precaution, according to the coach, but was seen leaving the stadium with strong straps.

After the game against Iceland there were doubts that he would be ready to start against Serbia in Gelsenkirchen, but I understand that the most recent forecast is better.

If he cannot play, Marc Guehi will be England’s senior centre-back, with 11 caps. Along with him would be Ezri Konsa (who made his debut in March) or Lewis Dunk (who has made six international appearances since making his debut six years ago).

The key dates for England

All BST times

Monday June 10 – The England team flies to Germany

Sunday June 16 – Serbia vs England, Gelsenkirchen, kick-off at 8:00 p.m.

Thursday June 20 – Denmark vs England, Frankfurt, kick-off at 5:00 p.m.

Tuesday June 25 – England vs Slovenia, kick-off at 8:00 p.m.



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