England's first tournament qualifying defeat in 10 years on Friday was not a cause for panic but the uncertainty over its best formation has given manager Gareth Southgate plenty to ponder ahead of Monday's Euro 2020 qualifier in Bulgaria.
It is three years to the day that Gareth Southgate took charge of his first England game and few of the 81,000 crowd who watched his side labor to a 2-0 win over Malta at Wembley would have staked too much on him enjoying a long reign.
England manager Gareth Southgate will continue to select younger players who can adapt better to his tactics and preferred formations as he looks to build on the side’s impressive World Cup showing in Russia.
England came into the World Cup with low expectations from its fans and much talk of building for the future but as it faces a quarterfinal with Sweden on Saturday, manager Gareth Southgate said this generation might not get a better chance to triumph.
As captain Harry Kane walked away from the celebrating England fans after his team’s heart-stopping World Cup penalty shootout win over Colombia on Tuesday he looked so relaxed he could have been strolling to the corner shop for a bottle of milk.
For years England has tried – and failed – to copy the styles of successful European national teams, but now Gareth Southgate appears to have found a way to replicate the intensity of England’s best Premier League teams.
England will adopt an aggressive approach to their World Cup fixtures and tackle the tournament “head on” as Gareth Southgate’s youthful squad hopes to make its mark in Russia, captain Harry Kane said.