Change of Personnel Seems Imminent for England

England drew 1-1 with Denmark in Frankfurt in their second game of the European Championships. Harry Kane gave England the lead in the first half, before Morten Hjulmand equalized for the Danes on the stroke of half time.

England still leads the group with four points in two matches and looks almost certain to make it to the round of 16. However, in the first half against the Danes, Gareth Southgate’s men looked decidedly second-best.

Some Players Not Looking Convincing for England

Kane himself could not do much aside from scoring the goal. He had to replaced in the second half with Ollie Watkins, who looked livelier than the former with his movement during his brief stay on the pitch. Then there is Bukayo Saka, who has not done much since having a good first half against Serbia. Saka kept looking for space and that elusive long ball, which came only sporadically.

However, the plight of Phil Foden, England’s Player of the Year in club football last season, was there for everyone to see. Foden looked quite at sea playing as the left winger and looked a different player when he had a chance to attack through the inside-right channel. A shot that he took from the pocket in the inside-right hit the bar before going out. Other than that, Foden was largely a peripheral figure in the match and had to be substituted.

England Needs a Calmer Mind in the Midfield

Denmark’s high-press and quick passing inside the English half had the Three Lions in a lot of trouble in the first half. The Danes tormented England on the right flank and inside-right channel in the half. Marc Guéhi and Kieran Trippier had a tough time dealing with Denmark’s high-press and quick passing. In the second half, Declan Rice had to shun his attacking intent completely and give cover to Guéhi and Trippier.

In such a scenario, the English lacked a calm and assured presence in their midfield, which Kobbie Mainoo has provided often to Manchester United last season. With Trent Alexander-Arnold not being quite inspiring as a defensive midfielder, England did not look secure enough until the introduction of Conor Gallagher, who calmed things down in the middle of the park.

With Rice confined to playing as a No. 6 in the second half, the Three Lions lacked a good passer in the middle third alongside Jude Bellingham, who was tireless with his work-rate.

One can argue whether Gallagher or Mainoo should replace Alexander-Arnold in England’s next match against Slovenia. One can also argue on Southgate’s decision to persist with one of England’s best players in Foden out of his preferred position, particularly when Saka himself has not been very impressive.

Southgate Will Have Some Big Decisions to Make

Southgate will have to take a call as far as starting with Alexander-Arnold and Saka/Foden is concerned. Dropping either Saka or Foden would be a big call. However, one cannot forget that Cole Palmer has had a great season as the right winger or No. 10. Mainoo has also had a fine season and probably merits selection in the starting XI. Even Kane should be up for some scrutiny. It remains to be seen whether the English manager goes on to make some tough decisions soon.

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