UEFA Euro 2024: Gareth Southgate Offers Bizarre Excuse for England’s Midfield Issues Against Denmark

UEFA Euro 2024: Gareth Southgate Offers Bizarre Excuse for England’s Midfield Issues Against Denmark

Ero Samson
updated at June 21, 2024 at 11:26 AM
In this article:
England logo
UEFA European Championship logo
Denmark logo
Jude Bellingham logo
Real Madrid logoMEngland logo
Kalvin Phillips logo
Manchester City logoMEngland logo
Trent Alexander-Arnold logo
Liverpool logoDEngland logo
Declan Rice logo
Arsenal logoMEngland logo
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  • The English national team laboured to an underwhelming draw in their UEFA Euro group fixture against Denmark
  • The 2021 Euro finalists were far from impressive, particularly factoring in the array of elite talents they can call upon
  • Three Lions coach, Gareth Southgate, has offered an excuse for the midfield problems his side is currently facing

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It has not been the dream start to the 2024 UEFA Euro tournament that many fans of the English national team would have pictured in the lead-up to the showpiece.

The 2021 finalists, who headed into this edition of the Euro as favourites, have largely been underwhelming, recording a victory and a draw against Serbia in their opening fixture and Kasper Hjulmand’s Denmark side, respectively.

England, Denmark, Gareth Southgate, EURO, Midfield, coach UEFA,
England manager, Gareth Southgate, looks dejected during the UEFA EURO 2024 group stage match against Denmark at the Frankfurt Arena on June 20, 2024. Image: James Gill.
Source: Getty Images

The tournament favourites, per data courtesy of Opta, have failed to live up to the lofty expectations many set for them and have noticeably been scrappy in midfield.

England manager, Gareth Southgate, appears to be struggling particularly with finding the right midfield balance for his team and has so far resorted to a makeshift pairing of Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

However, despite the midfield pairing churning out just the needed results, fans of the Three Lions have continued to clamour for an improved performance from the team.

In response to the continued criticism and clamour from the fans, Southgate has provided a cuious reason for why he has opted for the makeshift midfield at the Euro showpiece.

Southgate gives reason for England’s midfield dilemma

In a post-match interview, per BBC Sport, the 53-year-old coach defended his choice of TAA, Bellingham, and Rice in midfield, emphasised that this was primarily due to the absence of Kalvin Phillips.

"It is an experiment. We don't have a natural replacement for Kalvin Phillips, so we are trying different things," the manager stated.

The manager's comments have been greeted with stern criticism, especially considering that the Manchester City midfielder last featured for the English team in November 2023.

The former Leeds United midfielder has struggled for game time in recent seasons, managing only 12 Premier League appearances in the recently concluded season.

England still have a chance of securing automatic promotion from their Euro group if they secure a victory in their final fixture against Slovenia on June 25.

Nico Williams shares touching message

Sports Brief also reported on Spain’s Nico Williams sharing a message he received from his brother after his display against Italy.

The 21-year-old was named Player of the Match for his performance against the Azzuri, with Inaki Williams saluting his sibling.

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Ero Samson
Samson Ero is a sports journalist with a track record of over five years in the Nigerian media industry. He graduated from Nigerian Institute of Journalism (2021-2023).