England beat the Czech Republic 1-0 to top Group D in the European Championship and this win was a positive for Gareth Southgate for more reasons than one.
During the first two matches, England were not at their best but after making a handful of changes to his starting line-up, the Three Lions looked a much better side on Tuesday night.
The underwhelming Phil Foden was replaced by Bukayo Saka on the right wing while Jack Grealish came into the side since Mason Mount was isolating. Both these players came out with flying colours from this game and according to Gary Neville, the fate of a number of players has been decided during this 1-0 win.
Speaking on ITV Sport, Neville said, as quoted by The Mirror: “Tonight we have seen Saka, Sterling and Grealish. These three have put the likes of Rashford and Foden under real pressure.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if Gareth stuck with these three. I think Foden will come back in, but it’ll be tough to leave one of those three out after this. I’m hoping Phil Foden is watching that, who’s been out because of the yellow card, I hope he’s watching Saka.
“He’s taking the ball on the back foot all of the time, he’s driving at people. That’s what we expected from Foden in the first two games.
“We didn’t quite get it, we know how exceptional he is. I think he could have inspired his team-mates tonight, Saka.”
Will England use the same front-four for the rest of the Euros?
Harry Kane is an obvious choice up front and since he upped his game against the Czech Republic, there’s no way he will be dropped to the bench during the knockout stages.
The England boss had made it clear that Kane provides much more than just scoring goals for England and he is going to be the undisputed centre-forward for the remaining tournament.
As far as Phil Foden is concerned, the Manchester City man got a chance to start in the first two matches thanks to his fine performances during the 2020-21 season. But that royalty has now been exhausted and we don’t think the youngster is coming back into the side any time soon.
Based purely on performance, Bukayo Saka should be starting on the right wing in the next match but the England boss has players like Rashford and Jadon Sancho at his disposal so we will have to see if Gareth Southgate can afford to make such a bold call or not.
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Jack Grealish was another standout player for England(providing the key assist) on Tuesday but he was playing as a replacement to Mason Mount, and to be honest, Mount was the most consistent English player during the first two matches.
Once he comes back from isolation, Gareth Southgate will have a key decision to make but it remains to be seen if Mount is coming back before the 29th of June(that’s when England play their Round of 16 match). If the Chelsea man is not available then Jack Grealish will once again get to play in the No 10 role.
Raheem Sterling scored the only goal of the game on Tuesday night and the Man City man has more or less cemented his place in the England starting line for now.
Data courtesy Whoscored.