England manager Gareth Southgate believes that the delayed Euro 2020 may have benefited his side and will be better prepared the tournament next year. Earlier, Southgate also claims that he is “pleased with the progress” of his side despite their Nations League exit. They recently bounced back from a 2-0 defeat against Belgium to thrash Iceland 4-0 to wrap theirNations League campaign.
“Last autumn’s games were a bit of a red herring for us because we rattled up a lot of goals but we weren’t tested,” Southgate said after ending 2020 with a win against Iceland as England finished third behind Belgium and Denmark in their Nations League group. “We didn’t have to break down top level defences(last year) and we didn’t have to defend against top-level teams.
Southgate’s men reached the semi-finals of the inaugural Nations League, but have now suffered back-to-back competitive defeats for the first time since September 2018. “This autumn for our development has been far more important and far more worthwhile,” the England boss added. England arecurrently scheduled to play two World Cup qualifiers in March 2021 before Euro 2020 kicks off in June.
“We’ve got this strange split in the squad where half of the squad from Russia have drifted away really. “They’re not playing with their clubs or have retired from international football, so we’ve got a lot of guys who were the base of the team against Iceland – Trippier, Walker, Dier, Maguire, Pickford– who have good experiences and have started to build a lot of caps,” Southgate explains.
Last year, Southgate’s Three Lions celebrated their 1,000th game in style as they booked their place in Euro 2020, thrashingMontenegro 7-0 to top Group A. Captain Harry Kane moved to sixth in England’s list of leading scorers as a first-half hat-trick took his tally to 31, overhauling Frank Lampard, Alan Shearer, Nat Lofthouse and Tom Finney.
With Euro 2020 postponed for a year, Gareth Southgate has plenty of time to assemble the best team in Europe. Over the years, England’s XI has always been the star studded squad as the Three Lions recruit powerhouse players and some of the most important names in European football. The most glorious 24-team tournament will now take place from June 11 to July 11 in 2021.