‘I’m putting it on the players’ – Rooney & co continue England inquest

The inquest is continuing after England’s dire display in their 1-1 draw with Denmark on Thursday at Euro 2024.

BBC Sport pundits Wayne Rooney, Cesc Fabregas and Alan Shearer joined Gary Lineker to further dissect the Three Lions’ performance.

Here is how they think Gareth Southgate’s side could improve – and you can watch the full 18-minute chat on BBC iPlayer here.

The tactics: ‘I don’t think there’s a plan’

England looked tactically inferior against Denmark and had fewer shots, shots on target and touches in the opposition’s box. The Three Lions were also criticised for their negative approach and lack of pressing…

Rooney: “I think it was a flat performance, there wasn’t energy or balance in the team.

“I’m putting it on the players as well. If Harry Kane says he didn’t know what to do after the game [that’s a problem]. The players have to take responsibility.”

Fabregas: “I’m trying to still understand what they want to do in each game.

“Spain have a clear plan, they are aggressive. It can go right or wrong but at least you see a clear thing of what they want to do.

“England vary too much, I want to see more confidence when they go forward.

“I think Harry doesn’t have the legs anymore to press high. You can see the other ones – Bellingham, Saka, Rice – press really high, but one person not doing it can kill the function of the whole game.”

Shearer: “We have world-class players, it’s the manager’s job to get the best out of those players.

“For 35 mins in the first game we saw that. Second half of the first game, no chance. And for yesterday’s game we were awful.

“I don’t think there is a plan. There’s a complete lack of energy, I don’t know if anyone knows whether to come or to sit.”

The players: ‘Trent experiment hasn’t worked’

Trent Alexander-Arnold wasn’t a conventional pick in the centre of midfield in this tournament and, so far, it doesn’t appear to have paid off. But who should come in?…

Rooney: “When the squad was announced I wondered where do you fit Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden into the same team, and I think that’s shown.

“For me [Southgate] should be playing Bellingham a little bit deeper and give Foden the freedom.

“I’d really like to see Anthony Gordon in there. I love Trent Alexander-Arnold as a player, but in midfield there’s better options.

Shearer: “Gareth is meticulous in everything he’s done. I was really surprised with his words after the game on [Kalvin] Phillips.

“I don’t go along with that. Adam Wharton’s came on to the scene. Kobbie Mainoo’s been that option.

“He has experimented with Trent and that hasn’t worked. That has to change for the next game.”

The manager: ‘The players look confused… that comes from the manager’

While Rooney believes the players have to take responsibility, Shearer says the way they’ve been playing “comes from the manager”. Can he now make the required changes?…

Shearer: “They look confused to me as players as to when and how to go and when they want to press the opposition.

“That, for me, comes from the manager. In the first two games and certainly the last game, it was far too easy for the opposition.”

Fabregas: “Every team has a gameplan. If you’re telling me the striker doesn’t know what to do, that’s a problem.

Rooney: “I think for Gareth and Steve Holland I’m pretty sure they’re working on a gameplan.

“Gareth’s got a chance now to reassess, I hope he makes a couple of changes to get us back on the front foot.”

Gareth Southgate

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The preparation: ‘Southgate might regret’ comments

England’s defeat by Iceland in their final warm-up game before Euro 2024 set alarm bells ringing for many – and those concerns have yet to be allayed. Southgate’s own admission after the defeat by Denmark that using Alexander-Arnold in midfield was an “experiment” hasn’t helped…

Fabregas: “The most successful coaches go into the detail. What you see yesterday with Denmark you saw a proper team. A team I see who is ready to face every game. You saw a gameplan.

“If you don’t go into the details, nowadays everyone is so good and ready that the line is very thin.

“If it’s well planned and you have the principles, you can do it. But obviously there is something wrong.”

Rooney: “You can’t go into a major tournament and say you’re experimenting. That is a strong word to say.

“If England don’t go far in this competition, [Southgate] might regret that.”

The lack of experience: ‘You need voices… I would’ve taken Henderson’

Despite a difficult season which started in the Saudi Pro League and ended with Ajax, Jordan Henderson was a surprise omission from the squad, having featured heavily throughout Southgate’s tenure. Have England missed his experience?…

Rooney: “There’s a lack of experience in the team and voices, you need voices behind. I would have taken Jordan Henderson, he’s a voice.

“The lack of experience, for young players, especially when you go a goal up, you panic.”

Shearer: “Even in the first game, when we scored the first goal automatically we sat back. We didn’t play too well the other day but when we scored the exact same thing happened.”

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