Nations League: Italy vs England exclusive from ex-Three Lions manager
England face Italy during the international break in the Nations League this Friday and we have spoken exclusively to an ex-Three Lions boss!
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Gareth Southgate is getting his squad in gear ahead of the 2022 World Cup coming up this winter, so we got the thoughts from former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson to speak about a number of topics!
Let’s take a look at what he has to say on Italy vs England first, below!
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Momentum or try out new players vs Italy & Germany?
It’s important to win these matches, always, for the confidence because you’re very close to the World Cup.
I’m sure Gareth Southgate will want to see the team working so they don’t have problems in defence or attack, because he doesn’t have much time.
Before the World Cup, managers usually have weeks with their players, but for this one it’s only a few days so it’s a very tricky one.
I don’t think he can afford to try too many changes. There’s too little time and you know how things are in England, if they don’t play well or if they lose there will be lots written in the papers and comments on the radio.
As always, for the team and Southgate, they don’t need that just before a World Cup.
Are England stronger than the Euro 2020 final – time for revenge?
They can get revenge, for sure. I think Italy were stronger when they won the Euros than they are today.
I saw the squad for Italy, there are a lot of players who, I’m not quite sure how good they are.
What happened with Italy at Euro 2020 was incredible, they won it in style playing very good football, then they had a little bit of luck with the penalties.
They did very well there. Then they missed the World Cup because they lost against North Macedonia, you can’t even believe that.
So I think England might even be the same or better. Italy? I don’t think they are as good as they were at the Euros.
Should Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford be in the squad now?
Rashford, yes I think so. He picked 28 players I think.
That’s a lot, I don’t think he can do that for the World Cup, I guess it’s 23 as normal, but that means he wants to see as many players as possible. And he wants to work with them and see how they are in training.
So I guess it’s normal, but I think some of the players who are not picked still have a chance to be picked when he chooses the World Cup squad.
Players selected are coming from a wide range of clubs?
One thing I thought was a little bit strange but good for English football, the players are coming from I think 16/17 different clubs and during my time that was not at all so many clubs.
They have players from Dortmund and Roma which is fantastic so I think it’s strange that there are so many players good enough to play for the national team, not only playing for big teams, but playing for West Ham and Newcastle.
You are not used to seeing a couple of players from Newcastle and West Ham playing in the national team.
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Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw – can he play players currently not playing for their clubs?
I think that’s difficult for Southgate because if they don’t play regularly, it’s very difficult to let them play in the national team because it’s one thing to train, but it’s another to have a regular routine of games. So that’s a difficult one.
England have an embarrassment of riches at right-back – who would be your pick?
Well you could almost close your eyes and pick one name, because it’s incredible how many good right-backs there are – Kyle Walker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kieran Trippier and Reece James.
I remember during my time we had Gary Neville, or on the other side Ashley Cole, if they were not available it created a problem. But here if one or two right-backs are not available, you can easily put one in.
I guess Alexander-Arnold or Kyle Walker. One of them.
Does the defensive side of Trent’s game worry you, though?
Well he is a fantastic attacker of course, great crosses and great right foot, extremely good right foot.
As a defender he’s not the best in the world but of course if you play for Liverpool, attacking attacking, they maybe don’t need.
I think it very much depends who is the opponent. For example Brazil, where you will probably not have the ball as much, maybe then you put in one who is stronger defensively.
21 years since your famous 5-1 win over Germany – your memories before and after?
Before, I don’t think I did anything differently. It was a very important game for us, if we had lost we would have struggled to reach the World Cup in 2002, we would have struggled to go directly.
The best we could have done was to qualify playing a play-off game, so I tried to not make it too big. If you play Germany away it’s always a big game so afterwards I didn’t need to say anything.
Big, huge congratulations, that was more than fantastic and everybody knew that.
If England lose to Germany next week just before a World Cup…
To lose against Germany for England is always a little bit dramatic, but it’s not that dramatic because a World Cup is different.
It’s dramatic for the press, who do whatever they can if they win or if they lose. But I think for England there are two very, very good games just before the World Cup, very good tests.
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