Euro 2020: What England needs to change against the Czech Republic – Alan Shearer


Alan Shearer

There was a lot of doom and gloom after the disappointing draw between England and Scotland, but now the dust has settled, we hope that everyone has realized that there is no need to panic.

I’ve seen it suggested that we have to give up the whole attack for Tuesday’s match with the Czech Republic, which will decide who will be Group D champions at Euro 2020, but that’s nonsense.

What we need to do is increase the intensity, move the ball faster and move it forward more. We also didn’t put enough balls into the box from our defenders when we had a chance on Friday, especially from the right.

There is no doubt that Harry Kane looked long-legged, so he can’t put all the blame on his teammates, but I reduced that bad performance in England to a combination of things – and we can put a lot of them against the Czechs as well.

I remember that after two group matches at the 2018 World Cup, people were talking about where we should try to end up and what would be the easiest way for us to reach the final.

Let’s forget about it, this time. Second place might look appealing because we would avoid one of the Group F giants in the last 16 – France, Portugal or Germany – but we would probably end up playing just one of them in the quarterfinals.

So I don’t think we should even worry about who our favorite opponents would be. Just be careful and get the job done.

I want a positive effect and a victory that will prepare us nicely for the next phase. That would mean leading the group to stay at Wembley in the first round of the knockout, which would be a big advantage to whoever we face.

We don’t need two retained midfielders against the Czechs

Young Billy Gilmour was the star of the show on Friday. What kind of game to start your first senior start for your country and to set up such a display for Scotland at Wembley speaks volumes about the player as he is.

Jude Bellingham is capable of making the same impact in the England midfield if given the chance, and the seventeen-year-old is someone I would now like to bring.

Gareth Southgate rightly sued Calvin Phillips and Declan Rice against Croatia for giving it to us in the middle of the park when they beat us in the semifinals of the 2018 World Cup.

It worked perfectly against them last weekend, but not against Scotland.

We were too slow and strong in possession and we didn’t need two men in that midfield role. That meant there was no penetration by players trying to break through Scotland’s defensive lines, and we were too predictable on the ball.

The Czechs will of course carry the threat – Patrik Schick is the joint leading scorer of the tournament and looks full of confidence – but as a team I think they will sit back and try to make it harder for us to break them.

They only need a draw to lead the group, and England will have to head towards them and stop them. Therefore, one midfielder will suffice.

Kane will be better, and so will England

We still haven’t conceded a goal in this tournament, but so far we have only scored one goal.

Someone has to provide a creative spark if we win on Tuesday, and playing Jack Grealish would certainly help us there.

I know he played the last half hour against Scotland, but that wasn’t enough time to affect that game.

If Grealish starts this time, it refreshes our attack and gives us an additional threat to the defensive players we have seen so little against Scotland – we didn’t get Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling and Mason Mount on the ball like we did against Croatia.

Still, one player who has to keep his place is Harry Kane. Forget about omitting our captain and our leader – he’s the Premier League’s top scorer and also provided the most assists, so it would be ridiculous to drop him now.

And it is proven at this level as we saw in Russia three years ago. If we are going to go deep into this tournament, we will need it at its best.

We haven’t seen it from him at Euro 2020, but we know how good he is. Harry didn’t look sharp in our first two games and didn’t score a single goal, but so far he has hardly smelled a goal due to lack of service.

One chance and one goal and everything changes. I am convinced that it will improve – as will England.

Alan Shearer spoke with Chris Bevan of BBC Sport.

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