Former England manager Glenn Hoddle has heaped praise on Gareth Southgate after England’s opening victory against Croatia.
Gareth Southgate raised eyebrows with his decision to start Kieran Trippier at left-back ahead of Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell, but Glenn Hoddle believes it was one of several right calls Southgate made.
“After the season Ben Chilwell has had, and Luke Shaw, I was a little bit worried at the beginning,” Hoddle told Betfair. “But Trippier had a decent game, he did his job, defended well and didn’t get exploited down that side so there was a nice balance.”
The inclusion of Raheem Sterling over Jack Grealish also had people talking, but Hoddle believes the goal he scored could be a huge confidence boost for the winger.
“Sterling’s was a funny performance. He was getting in some wonderful positions, but his end product was frustrating.
“That goal will change his mindset and make it completely different. What he’s got to do is keep getting in those positions.
“There’s enough creation in this team if he makes those runs like for the goal and for the first half when he got in behind a couple of times, he’ll have the confidence now to feel like he’s going to put another ball in the back of the net.”
Phillips was excellent in midfield
Perhaps the real breakthrough performance came from Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips who collected the man of the match award for his brilliant display in the middle.
“I thought Phillips was excellent, I always thought the boy could play deep and hit passes, he’s got a real range of passing.
“The bigger Premier League clubs will be looking at Phillips given what he’s done at Leeds. I think he’s been fabulous. It suits him to sit deep, he drops to make a three sometimes in possession when the centre-backs split so you can do that with him as well.
“If we go deep into a tournament and play Portugal, France or Germany for instance, I can see Phillips playing a bit deeper with Rice and protecting the back three or back four. Gareth got it spot on and gave him more freedom and allowed him to go and play, and Phillips did it to a tee.”
England can compete with the best
Coming into the tournament England were tipped as one of the favourites to go all the way and Hoddle thinks that this side can compete with the big nations, although there is still plenty of work to be done.
He said: “If they’re going to win Euro 2020, England will face much bigger tests and they will need to be able to change things when they aren’t playing well.
“Attacking wise, we’re as good as anyone. But do I think can England give a 5/10 performance and win? You don’t win every game playing how you want to play.
“We can win it, we’ve got the capabilities of winning it, but it’s about how well we deal with those moments when we’re in a little bit of a crisis – that’s what the good teams do.”
Hoddle also thinks that the win against Croatia will have given the team real belief but says they need to stay grounded and alert to what’s coming next.
“I’ve experienced winning a first match at a tournament as a player and as a manager. The spirit of the camp the morning is amazing. It’s buoyant, there’s a bit of belief.
“You have to control that feeling and make sure players don’t get carried away. Let the public and the media get carried away if they want, but the team has got to stay steadfast. That’s where Gareth has been excellent as a manager.”
England can take nothing for granted against Scotland
Gareth Southgate’s side will be riding high on confidence after the win against Croatia although Glenn Hoddle thinks that England shouldn’t take anything for granted against Scotland on Friday.
“England have so much firepower going forward that they should beat Scotland on Friday but it’s not going to be an easy game.
“Not having 80,000 at Wembley, and a lot of the Tartan Army being there, I think Scotland will be desperate to get a result in front of their fans. They play emotionally and they’ll come out and give everything.
“I don’t think he’ll change that much. I don’t think Maguire will be ready to come in, so I think Mings will play again and he’ll keep that back four together. The only change might be he’ll want a left-footer so he might put Chilwell or Shaw in.
“Harry Kane didn’t affect the game in any way against Croatia and that’s a good sign for Gareth – that England can win when their number one striker isn’t firing on all cylinders. Kane will get better, guaranteed.
“I think England will start the same as they did against Croatia, go for the throat for the first 20 minutes, try to get a goal and settle down and play. I’m going 2-1 to England.”