Jack Grealish Wembley
Wembley England

England were the favourites to win against Scotland on Friday, but in the end, it was Steve Clarke’s side who were the better side on the night.

Everyone had put their money on the Three Lions to pick up all three points from this game and put one foot into the knockout stages of the tournament but the 0-0 draw means the group remains wide open.

A lot of fingers have been pointed at manager Gareth Southgate for his team selection and also his substitutions and maybe some of these criticisms are right. But pundit Gary Neville has claimed that this draw was more to do with the physical levels rather than a failure of tactics.

‘It was a really poor performance,’ he told ITV Sport, as per Daily Mail. ‘(There was) Massive disappointment in this ground and it was underpinned by the poor physical levels shown.

‘I don’t know what Gareth will be thinking in terms of how he corrects that for the next game because they looked lethargic.

‘I don’t know, was it too big for them in terms of expectation? For a few of those lads it was probably the biggest game they’ve played in.

‘Sometimes all the media before the game can sometimes mentally take it out of you. I have to say from the very first few minutes the balls played towards Dykes and Adams they got encouragement from that.

‘England never won the ball high up the pitch and the three midfield players for Scotland, they were better on the ball than the three midfield players for England.

 

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‘Pickford handled himself well in set pieces and made a few good saves, he was the only one who I can think of played at the level (required). All over the pitch Scotland were better and those physical levels need looking at because they were so lacklustre.’

From the very first minute, Scotland looked a more intense side and apart from a few attacks here and there, England did very little to trouble the Scottish keeper. Southgate’s side had nine shots on target and only one of them was on target.

And we can help but imagine e that this burnt-out performance stems from the intense 2020-21 season all these players had.

 

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Every player had a very short summer break last year due to the pandemic situation and just a few days after the 20/21 season ended, they joined the England camp and are now playing in the European Championship.

Time and again many people have come out to criticize this hectic schedule from UEFA and maybe England are the first major team to fall into this wormhole.

But having said that, the Scotland players also went through a similar season so maybe it’s just a matter of grit and determination and who wanted it more.

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