Rio Ferdinand believes England boss Gareth Southgate ‘let himself down’ tactically in defeat by Italy – insisting he ‘FROZE’ and left it too late to bring on Jack Grealish, Jadon Sancho or Marcus Rashford in bid to regain control of Euro 2020 final
- Under Gareth Southgate, England were defeated 3-2 on penalties by Italy
- The Euro 2020 final had finished 1-1 after extra-time in the Wembley clash
- Rio Ferdinand claims Southgate will feel he has missed an opportunity
- The former England defender claims Southgate was too cautious in the defeat
- Ferdinand believes attack minded players should have come on sooner
- However, Ferdinand praised the England boss for the progress he has made
Rio Ferdinand admits he was left frustrated by England boss Gareth Southgate as the Three Lions fell to an agonising defeat by Italy in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley.
England looked to be in control of the European Championship final when Luke Shaw gave them the lead in just the second minute as they hoped to win a major trophy for the first time in 55 years.
Yet despite producing an excellent first half display, England struggled during the second half and laboured in attack as they quickly lost control of the tie before Leonardo Bonucci equalised for Roberto Mancini’s outfit as the game ended 1-1 in 90 minutes.
Rio Ferdinand admits he was frustrated by England boss Gareth Southgate in the Euro 2020 final following their defeat by Italy at Wembley
Ferdinand believes Southgate was caught out by opposite number Roberto Mancini (right)
Southgate waited until extra-time to bring on playmaker Jack Grealish, while only bringing on fellow forwards Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford in the dying stages of the 30 minutes with a view to use them for penalties.
The plan backfired though when Sancho, Rashford and Bukayo Saka missed their spot-kicks to allow Italy to triumph 3-2 on penalties at Wembley Stadium.
Ferdinand believes that although Southgate made many bold and correct calls during the tournament, he had made the wrong decisions in the final.
‘Mancini went into half-time and he used that 15 minutes better than Gareth Southgate did. He changed the personnel, he allowed his wide player, [Federico] Chiesa, to come more central in order to link up with [Lorenzo] Insigne, brought off [Ciro] Immobile and that’s when you need a reaction from our manager,’ Ferdinand said on his Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE YouTube channel.
‘That’s the moment in the game where you need the manager to go, “You know what? I’ve seen this now, let me change things.” For me personally, he changed the formation, still didn’t change things, didn’t alter the running of the game, especially in the second half.
Ferdinand believes Southgate should have sent on Jack Grealish much earlier than he did, with the Aston Villa star only coming on in extra-time
Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford were also only introduced in the final seconds of the game
‘They got a stranglehold on the game, we were camped in our own half. [Harry] Kane, who was immense in the first half, it was like night and day in the second half because the team were forced back so deep.
‘We’ve absolutely gone over the hills and up mountains congratulating and applauding the manager for making decisions at this tournament, whether it be formation changes or personnel changes and this was a game where he was probably letting himself down in that sense.
‘When they score, they have momentum. I just feel – and again, hindsight is a great thing – but that was the moment to introduce a [Jack] Grealish or a Sancho or a Rashford. Bring these guys on.
‘We saw when Grealish came on and it’s just frustrating because you know the talent we’ve got on the bench. All we’ve been talking about is that our biggest strength is our bench, the depth of our squad that they can come on and maintain the level of performance that we need and can bring different things to the table and they weren’t allowed to do that in the biggest game.
England had taken the lead in the second minute through a Luke Shaw goal (centre) and dominated the first half at Wembley
But Italy hit back in the second period and scored a deserved equaliser through Leonardo Bonucci (third right)
‘They did it in all the other games. In the biggest game, Gareth Southgate seemed like he froze and just thought: “Let me just get to penalties and hope for the best.”
‘I’d like to have seen him go out on his sword and say, “Do you know what? I’m gonna throw these boys in. They’ve done me good and done me proud leading up to this point.”‘
England’s performance to reach the final though marks an extraordinary turnaround from five years ago when they crashed out of the same tournament following a humiliating 2-1 defeat by Iceland in the last-16.
Via a short-lived one-match spell under Sam Allardyce, Southgate effectively took over from Roy Hodgson after the tournament and has since also taken the England team to World Cup semi-finals – which the former England centre-back admits is excellent progress.
‘They’ve done amazingly well with where they’ve come from, especially since Southgate took over,’ Ferdinand added.
After the match went to penalties, England fell to a 3-2 defeat, with Sancho among those missing his penalty as he is consoled by Southgate (above)
‘If you look at it like that, they’ve got to a semi-final of a World Cup and a final of a European Championships in back-to-back tournaments.
‘Nobody has done that. It’s a real huge achievement. They’ve not won but it’s progress.
‘There will be big lessons learned from this tournament. From the final especially in how he goes about things in-game especially.
‘But I just think when you look through the squad, we’ve got a lot of characters in there, a lot of people that have been through ups and downs and been questioned whether at club or international football.’
Southgate’s excellent record at major finals for England makes him the country’s best since Sir Alf Ramsey lifted the World Cup in 1966, and he has the backing of many to take England to the World Cup finals in Qatar in 2022.
Southgate’s excellent record will see him likely take England to the next World Cup
Ferdinand though believes his former international team-mate will see the Euro 2020 final as a missed opportunity to end England’s 55 years of hurt.
He went on: ‘I just feel that he’ll wake up today and the next coming days and look back in hindsight – which we’ve always said is a great thing – but I think he’ll look back and go, “That’s an opportunity missed for us.”
‘The management in-game, Mancini showed his experience, showed his class as a manager. He switched things up at half-time and they dominated us, had us camped back.
‘We’ve hyped Southgate throughout the tournament, and rightly so, for making big decisions and them coming off.
‘This was the opportunity for him to nail it down as somebody and can really make big decisions and change the course of a game with a tactical play or a personnel change and it didn’t materialise.’
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