Gareth Southgate needs to take urgent action to avoid Euro 2024 disaster – here’s how England should line up vs Slovenia

GARETH SOUTHGATE has some big decisions to make ahead of Tuesday’s final group game against Slovenia in Cologne.

England have to win to be certain of finishing top of the group and avoiding a potentially disastrous last-16 game against Germany.

England must beat Slovenia to guarantee top spot in Group CGetty

GettyGareth Southgate has some big decisions to make[/caption]

They need to win.

So what would SunSport’s Football Editor Charlie Wyett do differently if he was in Gareth Southgate’s shoes?

If I was England manager picking the team, I would go back to Russia 2018 and revert to a three-man defence.

I think England would have better balance.

As they proved against Denmark, they’re conceding or allowing the opposition to have too many chances and better teams would punish England even more than the Danes did in Frankfurt.

So I’d have a back three, obviously, starting with Jordan Pickford in goal.

On the right of the back three would be Kyle Walker.

He played in that position in Russia, John Stones and Marc Guehi, who has been excellent in the two games for England, one of the few bright spots of Euro 2024 so far.


At right wing-back I’d go Trent Alexander-Arnold – that’s a great position for him.

He can’t play in midfield anymore. That experiment has to end.


Pundits and legends lay into England

ENGLAND’s lifeless display in the 1-1 draw with Denmark left pundits and legends queuing up to take a dig at Gareth Southgate’s team.

Here’s the best of what was said…


“Awful performance, particularly after going up in the game.

“I don’t think one England player can look at themselves and say, ‘I’ve done my job tonight’.

“England were all over the place, far too sloppy in possession, gave the ball away too much and got caught too many times.

“There was no energy, no pace, no guile — Southgate is simply not getting the best out of England’s best players.

“It’s concerning and Gareth will get some serious questions.

“You saw England players lying on their backs — they look absolutely shattered but there’s no excuse for that.”


The BBC host called the performance “lifeless and tepid”.

On Harry Kane he said: “He needs his manager to ask more of him. I would have expected that if I’d put in that kind of performance.”


“The players don’t look the same as they do for their clubs. It is a big concern.”


“Courage and bravery, we’re not really seeing it.

“There’s something amiss with the balance. Bellingham is waving his arms.

“This is a big test for Gareth. It looks like he’s overthinking things.”


“My big worry watching this and for the rest of the tournament?

“England look absolutely knackered. They can’t get close to the ball.

“The surest sign of fatigue is dropping deep.

“Declan Rice is having to cover so much ground. No-one can convince me this is a strategy.”


“It’s strange that we have taken the lead in both games so far, yet instead of it settling us down and giving us the confidence to play, we have failed to take control.

“But what was most worrying was that Denmark had a clear way of playing — while we didn’t.”

He struggled against Denmark but I’ll have him at right wing-back.

At left wing-back, Bukayo Saka. I admit you will lose a great threat going forward but he’s played in that position before at left wing-back.

I still think he’ll have licence to get forward and provide some ammunition for the strikers.

I’d have a central midfield of Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham next to him. Having a back three behind him and wing-backs, he’d have more licence to get forward and he’d be effective there.

Then in the front three I would have Phil Foden on the left.

I thought it was much better from him against Denmark, although there’s so much more to come from the player of the season.

So let’s hope he can improve against Slovenia.

This is how England started against Denmark

This is how Charlie Wyett would start the Three Lions against Slovenia


ENGLAND stumbled to a drab 1-1 draw with Denmark.

Here’s how SunSport’s Tom Barclay rated the Three Lions team.

Jordan Pickford: 6

Looked a little jittery early doors, though there was nothing he could do about Morten Hjulmand’s corker and he made a decent parry after the break.

Kyle Walker: 7 

Made England’s opener by racing round a sleeping Victor Kristiansen – he’ll be having nightmares of that forevermore – and teeing up Kane via a deflected cross.

John Stones: 6

OK but you have got to wonder how fit he feels having barely played for Man City in the second half of the season, plus his injury and illness issues over the last month.

Marc Guehi: 8 and my star man

Really encouraging again from the Crystal Palace centre-back, looking sharp with his interceptions and assured in distribution.

Kieran Trippier: 6

Like Stones, he was fine, but England really need Luke Shaw back ASAP because having no natural left-footer at left-back is a problem.

Trent Alexander-Arnold: 5

This experiment of playing Trent in midfield is far from convincing, especially when his passing was off it like it was here, barring one good ball to Saka. Subbed on 54 minutes.

Declan Rice: 5

Had to cover so much ground as England dropped worryingly deep in the first half and also lost it a few times in front of his back four.

Bukayo Saka: 7

Not quite as electric as his first half against Serbia, but another solid showing from our right winger who has been our most consistent attacker across the two games.

Jude Bellingham: 6

Nowhere near the majestic display he put in against Serbia and one of many who looked tired.

Phil Foden: 7

Was far more involved than against Serbia – although that was not hard – and had a few dangerous efforts from range, including one that smacked the post after the break.

Harry Kane: 6

Netted his 64th goal for his country with an opener he could not really miss, but then gave the ball away from Denmark’s leveller. Surprisingly subbed.


Conor Gallagher (on for Trent, 54): 7

Vital clearance on the stretch when Christian Eriksen was lurking and was not afraid to put his foot in.

Ollie Watkins (on for Kane, 70): 6

Played in by Bellingham’s lovely ball after coming on but could not finish from an acute angle.

Jarrod Bowen (on for Foden, 69): 6

Copped a nasty tackle which saw Joakim Maehle booked.

Eberechi Eze (on for Saka, 69): 6

On for his tournament bow though he was rarely involved.

Harry Kane is the central striker. He is a big worry.

Even if he’s fully fit, he’s definitely not fully sharp. He had a great season for Bayern, scoring 43 goals.

But since that back injury he suffered in training ahead of the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid, he’s not really looked the same player.

Although he scored, and it was a decent goal to be fair against Denmark, his movement’s a concern.

We need him to be back to his best because he was way off it – I think he’s only playing at 80 per cent.

Then on the right, completing the XI, would be Cole Palmer.

He deserves a chance and he’s not had a look in yet but he had a terrific season for Chelsea.

I just think it needs an injection of just a different player.

AFPThe Trent Alexander-Arnold experiment has not worked out[/caption]

GettyBukayo Saka would be moved from right wing to left wing-back[/caption]

GettyJude Bellingham could be dropped back into a midfield two with Declan Rice[/caption]

Cole Palmer is yet to play a minute of football at Euro 2024Getty

Jack Wilshere: Southgate must be brave with Rice

By Jack Wilshere

GARETH SOUTHGATE should be brave and play Declan Rice as our sole holding midfielder.

But if England manager Southgate doesn’t want to do that — and he probably doesn’t ­— then he needs to give Rice the chance to play more like he does for Arsenal.

Let’s be absolutely clear here. Rice was so important for us again during that first half against Denmark.

The fact that he had a difficult second 45 minutes showed how much England were struggling.

Rice himself would hold his hands up and say he gave away the ball too often.

But what I took overall from his performance is that he needs more help in the engine room.

Read here how Jack Wilshere would resolve the Declan Rice dilemma.

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