August 4, 2021

Euro 2020: England 0-0 Scotland full match reaction & quotes: Southgate admits steep learning curve

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The Three Lions followed up an assured opening victory with a sluggishly frustrated performance against Steve Clarke’s heroically stubborn visitors

Gareth Southgate acknowledged that England did not do enough to win their Group D encounter with Scotland at Wembly Stadium, but added that the result will be a learning curve for his young side at Euro 2020.

The Three Lions were unable to break down a heroically stubborn defensive effort from Steve Clarke’s visitors, who heavily restricted their hosts’ delivery options throughout to earn a hard-fought point.

In the wake of a faster, more assured display against Croatia on Sunday, it made for a disappointing comedown on a rain-swept London night, a mood drop the England manager was quck to acknowledge

What has been said?

“I think it was a frustrating night, we know we can play better,” Southgate told ITV in his post-match comments. “[You’ve] got to give Scotland credit, they defended valiantly and played well.

“We didn’t do enough to win the game but the thing we have to worry about in tournament football after that is we had to make sure we didn’t lose it.”

“The whole team can look at ourselves, [and] that starts with me – we’ve got to be better. We didn’t do enough to win the game tonight, [wit] not enough attempts on goal

“We have to go away and look at that. We know it’s a disappointment for our supporters, but we have to dust ourselves down and move on.”

Manager coy on selection choices

Southgate made just the two changes to the side that beat Croatia, swapping out wing-backs Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier for Reece James and Luke Shaw, with the reportedly fit-again Harry Maguire overlooked both to start and off the bench.

Yet for the second game in a row, the 50-year-old made the choice to remove captain Harry Kane, after the Tottenham forward endured another barren, lethargic night in front of goal, with Marcus Rashford brought on to replace him a quarter-hour out from full-time.

“We needed more runs in behind, [and] I felt Marcus Rashford would give us that energy,” Southgate added. “We have to make these decisions based on what we see.

“We’re still working those patterns, we’re playing a high level of games under the intensity and to find space tonight was difficult. Scotland played well and we weren’t able to open them up.

“I know exactly where this team is – it’s a young team and some of them won’t have experienced a night under this intensity and pressure, that’s a huge learning for then. That’s what we have to look at moving forward.”

The bigger picture

England will spend little time remonstrating on their failure to crack the Tartan Army wide open now, as they prepare for a crucial clash with the Czech Republic on Tuesday.

While a draw will be enough to secure a top-two finish in Group D for the Three Lions, it will also result in them finishing second behind Jaroslav Silhavy’s side, a result that may hand a theoretically easier last-16 tie to Southgate and company, avoiding second-place in the heavyweight Group F.

However, it would take them away from the home comforts of Wembley too, to Copenhagen, for the first part of the knockout stages, while World Cup holders France could be a probable opponent in the quarter-finals in Saint-Petersburg.

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