Gareth Southgate reveals last minute Czech Republic tactics change and England fitness concern but Three Lions boss hails ‘exceptional’ Bukayo Saka

Gareth Southgate praised his players for their adaptability having made a change to his Czech Republic tactics this morning, but did admit having concerns of his squad’s fitness.

England qualified top of their Euro 2020 group thanks to the 1-0 win, and without conceding a goal so far, and now await to see who they will play in the last-16.

Southgate is a big fan of Bukayo Saka

The display in Tuesday night’s game was a marked improvement from the draw with Scotland on Friday.

On assessing his side’s performance, Southgate told talkSPORT: “I liked the way we moved the ball through the pitch. We had good control in possession at the back.

“We’ve got some very experienced players in there to help them. I liked the interchange of our forward players and it allowed them to get free.

“I thought we were a threat, but we tired quite a bit. That is a concern but not something that’s surprised us as we’ve got a few who are short of match fitness. 

“It’s great we’ve been able to get players minutes on the pitch, great we’ve been able to top the group to stay at Wembley.

Raheem Sterling scored England’s winner against Czech Republic

“We have no idea if that’s going to be better for us or not. All you can do is top the group and if you get a difficult hand, everyone accepts it and we’ve done all we could.”

Southgate added: “We altered the way we were going to defend in a meeting this morning rather than on the training pitch because the profile of players we wanted to get in, in an attacking sense, we felt we needed to defend in the way we did in the first half.

“Huge credit to the players for being as adaptable as they were to it.”

Bukayo Saka was named man-of-the-match and really impressed in his first start of Euro 2020.

Southgate reserved special praise for the Arsenal man following his standout performance in the win.

Saka was named man-of-the-match for his brilliant performance

The England boss said: “We had a really good feeling about Bukayo since the first day he trained with us in this period. In every period he’s been with us he’s impressed us.

“He’s a totally reliable player, for a young player it’s an exceptional quality. His ability to receive under pressure was really important to get us through the thirds of the pitch.

“He did that for the run for the goal. Super cross from Jack and great to see Raheem scoring again.

“I thought Bukayo was the real standout performance.

“We played him in the position we did, partly because of his work off the ball is so good. His angles of approach are good. I know his club have worked a lot with him on that.

“It speaks volumes that his club have trusted him for the umber of games they have when it was difficult for them.

“Given we were defending more in a 4-4-2, you need your wingers to do a good job and him and Raheem did.

“His ability to go inside and outside, because he’s equally comfortable on either foot, I thought it was a really promising performance from him.”


By: Josh Fordham
Title: Gareth Southgate reveals last minute Czech Republic tactics change and England fitness concern but Three Lions boss hails ‘exceptional’ Bukayo Saka
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Published Date: Tue, 22 Jun 2021 22:35:09 +0000

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