GARETH SOUTHGATE MAKES ENGLAND PREDICTION TO SOLVE JUDE BELLINGHAM QUESTION

Gareth Southgate believes the route to glory for England involves different players producing magic moments in different matches – rather than just expecting Jude Bellingham to carry them to victory in every game.

Bellingham’s flying header against Serbia got England off to a winning start in Euro 2024 and the Real Madrid midfielder also supplied a terrific performance, whereas Phil Foden and Harry Kane were quieter.

But Southgate called on England’s other star players to chip in and deliver wins as he argued that when England have done well, they have had a variety of individuals making decisive contributions and not just been a one-man team.

“Not every player can star in every game,” he said. “What’s important is that different people pop up with the moments like Jude did.

“When I go through the history of our big games, there’s always been a different match-winner, a different guy to take the headlines and that’s as it will be if we are going to win a tournament.”

Southgate will consider whether to make changes for the rest of England’s group games as he tries to get some of his team up to speed physically and debates whether to give some of their group of newcomers a chance to impress.

“We’ll have to see,” he said. “There’s obviously a lot of new players, young players, so the team that started today was a very experienced team in terms of international and club bar Marc [Guehi], really, who had a brilliant game. So we’re just going to have to assess as we go from game to game.”

England started well against Serbia but struggled more in the second half, which did not surprise Southgate, who realised some of his players are not in peak condition yet.

“I think the team in the second half didn’t have the same control,” he said. “I thought physically we had players that needed the game. We’ve had a lot of players that hadn’t played 90 minutes for a long time. We expended a lot of energy in that first-half. I knew that we would dip. And it was a good moment to bring Conor [Gallagher] into the game, who can get up to the ball and provide that bit more defensive solidity at that time.

“That was Tripps’ [Kieran Trippier’s] first 90 minutes for about three months. We are dealing with the cards we have been handed and trying to find the best way with that so really pleased that given the circumstance, we’ve managed to show the resilience we did in the second half.”

Meanwhile, Kyle Walker is convinced that, despite all the attacking talents England have, clean sheets are the key to winning Euro 2024 for them.

Vice-captain Walker, part of the back four who secured a shutout against Serbia, feels England have the goal threats to ensure they should score, meaning a clean sheet would bring a victory.

The Manchester City skipper was part of the team who began Euro 2020 with five consecutive clean sheets and went on to reach the final, only conceding twice in the whole competition.

And Walker said: “I think always the first game is obviously a little bit cagey. I think to get the three points on the board is the most important thing. We did that and it’s a clean sheet as well.

“If you keep clean sheets in tournaments you have a very good chance of going on and winning it. Listen, we’ve got off to a good start. I thought we defended well against obviously a physical side, but still there’s room for improvement.”

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2024-06-17T21:35:39Z dg43tfdfdgfd