I think it was very ordinary from England. Scotland did well, they were the team that would be happier with the performance. Scotland know what they need in their last game and we’re now in a position where we know what we need to win the group. There is an advantage to coming second – we could play Slovakia, Sweden or Poland, so it’s intriguing. Gareth and the players can’t go out to play for that scenario.
They’ve got to go out positively. I always look back to ’82 with Italy: they drew their first three games and were getting absolutely slaughtered by their own press, and they went on to win the World Cup. Even when we won in ’66 we didn’t start particularly well. There’s a lot more improvement to come from this England team. Yes, it’s a little bit alarming that we suffered a bit against Scotland. I’ve always seen the deficiencies as defensive ones but we struggled to create.
We weren’t outstanding for 90 minutes in either game. We had spells in the first game where we looked accomplished.
The Scotland game was quite open in the second half and I was a bit mystified how we didn’t create more. Scotland defended well and it might be a bit of a reality check. And it might be the thing we need, to actually go again and get up to another level. I’m hoping that’s what England will do well.
We’ve got four points and we’re in a good position to qualify. No one remembers the group stages when you get to the quarters and semi-finals. We still look vulnerable to the top teams defensively but playing them might be our strength as well. They’ll open up and attack us and this England team might cause people problems with time and space to use the ball.
Both teams they’ve played against have dropped back and England found it hard to break through. If John Stones scores then England win, so it’s fine margins. Stones took a bit of stick and I didn’t agree with that. The ball was just behind him and he had to guide it into the corner, so he was unfortunate to hit the inside of the post.
Chelsea have a great player in Billy Gilmour
Billy Gilmour had a good game, and there’s still more to come, but it was his first game and he was excellent. He can only grow and get better. He’s not really match fit, so he’s going to get better. He keeps the ball well and he’s such a young player. He showed a lot of maturity. He’s instantly the replacement for Jorginho at Chelsea, they won’t have to looking in the market for someone because he is already there, learning and developing into a great player.
Keep the faith, Harry Kane will be a key player
Harry Kane looks sluggish at the moment, he doesn’t look his sharpest and that does happen to players at times. I look at it optimistically: he hasn’t started yet and we’ve got four points on the board, and he’s our main striker. If we can get into the last 16 and get through, I think Harry will have a big say in the tournament.
But we’ll have to be patient. He’s the sort of player who, if it’s a quarter-final or a big game, he’ll produce something for England, I’m convinced of that. I don’t think it’s anything to do with what’s happening at club level. He’s a professional and he’s got the mentality to shrug that off. Sometimes players feel fatigued and a bit tired and I think he’s going through one of those situations. It’s not all doom and gloom.
They’ve got to keep creating chances and if they do that Harry will put it in the back of the net. When you’re a striker of his ilk – a bit like Aguero at City – you need creation around you. He’s not at his best at the moment, but it’s two matches. He’ll go on a run. It’s not if he’ll score, it’s when he scores. There’s more to come from the team and there’s more to come from Harry.
Creativity will come with minor tweaks
Gareth’s got so many choices. You’ve got Mount and Sterling, Grealish and Foden. I was surprised to see Foden come off. I would’ve liked to see Grealish on the pitch with Foden as well. If you’ve got Rice and Phillips in midfield you’ve got that balance. For 20 minutes, when you need a goal, Grealish and Foden together is something we’ve got up our sleeve. We haven’t quite seen it yet.
If Grealish is playing, I would be saying to Phillips and Rice, ‘feed him, get the ball to him’. He either beats a player or drags two or three players over, or he gets brought down and you get free kicks. Just make him have the ball. He came on against Scotland and he was just out on the left side and didn’t get on the ball. You want him having more touches than anyone in the last 20 minutes.
We’ve got to look at a different style of play for the Czech Republic game, forget the other games.
We’re not playing Germany or Portugal or France yet. You have to look at who you’re playing against. I haven’t got a problem with Phillips and Rice playing together. Phillips can hurt teams with his passing and in the first game he was let off the leash. I wouldn’t necessarily discard them, but against a better team Southgate could change it. But I’m not sure he’ll do that. To start games too open in this tournament will cause a problem. Rice is a must, intercepting and tackling and doing that job.
The great thing is we’ve got the option, with 20 minutes left, where we can add Grealish and anything can happen.
I think that’d be exciting but I don’t see Gareth doing that for 90 minutes.
Looking back at the Scotland game, Pickford and the two centre backs were probably the top performers, they did a sensible job. Our full-backs could’ve hurt Scotland a lot more. They had a lot of the ball and should have put more crosses in. Normally when everyone’s a five or six out of ten you lose, but we got a draw.
Czech Republic won’t be a walkover at Wembley
The refereeing’s been great in this tournament apart from the abysmal decision to give a penalty in the Croatia vs Czech Republic match. If that is a penalty we might as well pack the game in, it’s ridiculous. Then you get the referee looking at the screen and he still makes the decision. He’s never played the game in his life, clearly. But Schick’s on three goals now, so you’ve got a striker there who’ll feel like he’s going to score.
They’ll be confident, they’re a hard side to beat. They’ve got some good, hard-working players and we’ll have to be patient. We could do with an early goal to settle us down, but I think they’re going to be quite stubborn. I’m going for a 1-0 victory, I think it’ll be a tight match and it won’t be edge of your seat stuff because we’ve got four points, but they are a threat.
Foden and Mount will be the key players for England, there’s going to be responsibility to create. I don’t think the full-backs will have as much space as they got against Scotland. He might go for Grealish. They’re the type of players who are going to be really important. If they’re on their game, bright and inventive, we can open them up.
Look at Kevin De Bruyne, he is such a wonderful player and if he comes on for Belgium, what do they do? They give him the ball. He’s earned that respect. Grealish at the moment hasn’t. He doesn’t feel that confident yet in an England shirt.
If he comes on or he starts, give him the ball. If he has more touches than anyone on the pitch, things will happen. The same for Foden in many ways. He’s been picked ahead of Grealish, so he’s got to come to the fore. He’s a fantastic young player.
Spurs are at a crossroads and this is Daniel Levy’s biggest decision in 20 years
I know Spurs fans are just fed up to the back teeth with it now. There’s a big list of names that they have apparently approached but how many of those were realistic. We know for a fact that there’s been three or four they’ve gone for. Daniel Levy has got a real hard job on his hands.
Once he decided to sack Mourinho he had to have someone to replace him. But that’s not happened and it’s not a great position to be with. We’ve come to a crossroads: the stadium’s fabulous, all the infrastructure is there and what Levy’s done is fantastic, to a degree. The squad has to be the priority but it can only be a priority if they get a manager in. The Kane situation needs to be dealt with eventually. It’s a real conundrum where Spurs are at the moment.
To think only two years ago they were in the Champions League final. Now it’s going to take a rebuild, I don’t care who comes in, even if you had Shankly, Ferguson and Bill Nicholson all together in one, that team’s going to need changing over the next few seasons. That’s why Kane’s saying he wants to move.
I’m still scratching my head to see where Levy’s going to go. I wonder if he’d be better going to someone who’s been in the Premier League, knows the Premier League. That might work better than going for a foreign manager. Graham Potter at Brighton has done a great job, but whether he can cope with the pressure is another thing. Only Daniel Levy knows and I get the feeling he’s chasing his tail at the moment.
I don’t know if managers don’t want to come to Spurs, but I don’t think a deal with a team not in the Champions League has been pinned down. So whether it’s not enough money being thrown at these managers, or it’s the fact that they are at a crossroads and a lot of money has to be spent on the squad – but the money is not there – they could be reluctant to come for those reasons. It’s not just down to the club – it’s actually a fantastic club to be successful with.
But it seems like we are going south, not north. Two years ago, we were travelling north, but we’ve reversed the car and we’re going down south. I feel that we’ve got to have some stability for a few seasons. It’s got to be a mini rebuild to see if that success can come round the corner. There are too many facets to the squad that are negative at the moment.
There have been so many names for the job, and people have jokingly asked me about it, I’m not sure about that.
I’d love to go back there, but it’s a different era and a different scenario at the club.
It’s been my club since I was eight years of age. It’s amazing the connection with the club I’ve had over the years. It’s unlikely, but never say never! Football always surprises you, doesn’t it? But Daniel has got to make the biggest decision he’s ever had to make in the 20 years since being in charge of Spurs. It’s a crossroads for the club – I just pray and hope that he gets the right man that can turn things around.