Gary Neville insists that England defender Harry Maguire must play before the knockout phase of Euro 2020 to have a chance to participate in the tournament.
The Sky Sports expert and former England defender says Maguire, who has been out with an ankle injury since early May, must have substantial minutes before the end of the group stage and cannot be thrown into a knockout game.
Neville also believes Gareth Southgate will stick with two defensive-minded central midfielders for the remainder of the tournament after Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice impressed in a 1-0 win over Croatia, and says Rice is almost as inescapable as Harry Kane. .
England play their second Group D game on Friday at Wembley against Scotland; start at 20:00 h.
‘Maguire must play before knockouts’
“I think Tyrone Mings did very well, it was an important game for him. If you look at John Stones and Mings as a couple before the tournament, you would have concerns against the best teams.”
“I know people have ruled out Croatia after the match, but not many ruled them out before the match, so I would still say it’s a very good win for England against a good team.”
“I think the reason Kieran Trippier played as a left back was his experience and knowledge, which means that Mings had experience other than him.
“If Harry Maguire can get back to one level, he’ll come back in. But if he comes back, I think if it isn’t against Scotland, it will have to be against the Czech Republic. You couldn’t go back to Harry Maguire’s first game – a playoff game.
“Maguire has to appear in the next two games, otherwise I’m afraid they won’t see him in the tournament, and it would be Stones and Mings who would continue.”
‘The double pivot will not change; Almost impregnable rice ‘
“I think what we saw against Croatia was Southgate’s reaction to what we were all thinking before the tournament, that their weakness is defense and that they will need to keep a clean sheet if they want to win this tournament.
“That double pivot, or the two midfielders in front of the four behind, are not going to change, of that you can be absolutely sure.
“The big question is whether Kieran Trippier will stay on the left back; there’s no question that Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell will be better attacking forward, but it is whether Southgate feels that Trippier gives the defense that advantage to aim for cleanliness.” . sheet, which is so important.
“When you get to a tournament, you can talk about scoring goals all you want, but you know that you are going to face Portugal, France, Germany or Spain at some point in this tournament, and you are going to have to defend well.
“My feeling after the Croatia game was that Shaw or Chilwell could come in, but the midfield won’t change. Jordan Henderson is not at the same level of fitness as Phillips and Rice. I feel like Harry Kane is inescapable in this England team. ., but I’d put Declan Rice pretty high right now, he’s going to play all the games.
“I think Kalvin Phillips now, with the way he played against Croatia, is going to play alongside him. I don’t see Southgate changing that. They have a good association, a good midfield rotation, they pass well together and they are certainly further ahead. in his physical condition than Jordan Henderson right now. “
How does Scotland win it?
“They have to be tight defensively and play deeper. I don’t think two can go up front, go for England and put the ball in the box. I have rarely seen teams at Wembley maintain a physical performance for 90 minutes.” , or 45 minutes, in fact. It is a very demanding stadium to play.
“I think the idea that Scotland can bombard England with set pieces is not something that will come true. They just have to defend well, that’s the main thing. They can’t concede like they did against the Czechs; they have to keep a goal to zero and hope for a moment in the match.
“Scotland will be uncomfortable for England on Friday. I have never played a game against a nation where they were not uncomfortable or difficult. They are very well organized and it is the most important match for Scotland.”
How does England win it?
“They just have to go and get that first goal, so then Scotland comes out and England can eliminate them.
“We saw it with Portugal against Hungary, as soon as they got the first goal, they went and got another two later. That’s what good teams do against tough, hard-to-beat defenses.
“The game becomes a little simpler if you score the first goal.”
‘Southgate’s plan will not have changed’
“I don’t think players get carried away by emotion, and I don’t think Gareth will. Gareth doesn’t tend to get too high when they win a game, nor too low when they lose a game. He has seen a lot of international football, he has seen a lot. soccer tournaments and understand what can happen.
“I think his game plan for Friday will have been established even before Croatia, and I don’t think that will change. He is really methodical and knows how he is going to approach each game. That will be established.
“It will be more interesting to see how Steve Clarke reacts to their defeat in the first game, there may be an emotional reaction that they need to be more offensive and proactive. But that would be good for England, if Scotland came out and attacked they could then play their soccer a little more It is important that both coaches take the excitement out of this match and stick to their game plans.
“I’m sure Southgate will do it, if Steve Clarke reacts to the fact that they had a disappointing first result against the Czech Republic.”
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.