England have been stumbling their way through Euro 2024, writes GRAEME SOUNESS. They are supposed to have leadership groups - well b****y lead then! And why I'm so happy to be ribbed by Alan Hansen

In Germany, Gareth Southgate's side have been consistent in being average 

England's players need to take a good, hard look in the mirror today and ask themselves what more can I do?

A non-functioning midfield is an issue for any team but there's more to it than just that.

Harry Kane says they are unsure about their pressing roles. Big players don't need a manager to sort that out. Pressing isn't rocket science. You talk to each other on the pitch and work it out.

They are supposed to have leadership groups - well b****y lead then!

If there are still mixed signals coming across then it is up to the leaders in that group to talk to the coaching staff and ask them to make it clearer.

England have stumbled through their opening Euro 2024 matches, but still are on track to qualify for the knockout stages

England have stumbled through their opening Euro 2024 matches, but still are on track to qualify for the knockout stages

Gareth Southgate's side have been nowhere near good enough at the start of this tournament

Gareth Southgate's side have been nowhere near good enough at the start of this tournament

Two games in and despite being one of the favourites, England have only been consistent in being average,

Two games in and despite being one of the favourites, England have only been consistent in being average,

Podcast All episodes
  • Is Kane doing enough for 'chaotically, pathetically bad England?'
    Is Kane doing enough for 'chaotically, pathetically bad England?'
  • LISTEN: What Jude Bellingham must do to elevate his game
    LISTEN: What Jude Bellingham must do to elevate his game
  • LISTEN: It's All Kicking Off at the Euros. Get the latest action daily
    LISTEN: It's All Kicking Off at the Euros. Get the latest action daily
  • EPISODE 91: Can Manchester City cope without Pep Guardiola?
    EPISODE 91: Can Manchester City cope without Pep Guardiola?
  • EPISODE 90: How Manchester United CAN win crunch FA Cup clash
    EPISODE 90: How Manchester United CAN win crunch FA Cup clash
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Their football so far has been nowhere near good enough. I said they were my favourites, but they have been stumbling through the games and there has to be a monumental sea-change in what they are producing for them to have a chance of winning this tournament.

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EUROS DAILY: Is Kane doing enough for 'chaotically, pathetically bad England?'

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They were selected for their country because they play fabulously well for their clubs every week in what is the hardest league in the world. Sometimes they are brilliant but most importantly they are consistent. Two games in to this tournament and they have only been consistent in being average. They can give so much more.

I find it strange that Gareth Southgate talks about the problem in replacing Kalvin Phillips, well Kalvin Phillips is yet to prove he is a Premier League player. I didn't like the term 'experiment' around Trent Alexander-Arnold. It's unfair on him.

Playing wide as a full-back, to me, is the easiest position on the pitch because you have more time and space. In midfield it is a whirlwind. The action is coming at you from all angles, it's often frantic and you have a nano-second to make a decision - and half the time you won't get that right.

You have to be a bit of everything: have a defensive head, be creative and be able to mix the physical side too.

[video_shortcode_video_html_5 src="https://videos.dailymail.co.uk/video/mol/2024/06/20/2010867431851209065/1024x576_MP4_2010867431851209065.mp4" itemprop="image" content="https://videos.dailymail.co.uk/video/mol/2024/06/20/2010867431851209065/1024x576_MP4_2010867431851209065.mp4" data-src="https://videos.dailymail.co.uk/video/mol/2024/06/20/2010867431851209065/1024x576_MP4_2010867431851209065.mp4"]

It's strange that Southgate (left) talks about finding it hard to replace Kalvin Phillips (right) in midfield

It's strange that Southgate (left) talks about finding it hard to replace Kalvin Phillips (right) in midfield

It is also unfair to call Trent Alexander-Arnold's (left) new role in midfield an experiment

It is also unfair to call Trent Alexander-Arnold's (left) new role in midfield an experiment

Trent is a wonderful kicker of the ball, he can deliver it on a sixpence. At Liverpool, they dominate sides so there is space, but to task him to play this role when England are trying to establish dominance is a hell of an ask. He doesn't possess that equipment. In this England set-up, I see Trent Alexander-Arnold best suited to an impact substitute role when you are chasing a game and you need his delivery and accuracy of passing.

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Roy Keane blasts Trent Alexander-Arnold's performance vs Denmark, claiming 'Declan Rice BABYSAT him'

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England should revert Jude Bellingham back alongside Declan Rice, put Phil Foden behind Kane and put either Eberechi Eze or Anthony Gordon on the left.

When you're a manager, you have to take the excuses away from players. Foden wants to play in the middle, so play him there. He certainly looked capable of creating chances when he ventured into the middle against Denmark and on one occasion smacked the post with a fierce shot - and Kane wants someone closer to him.

Rice has wonderful defensive qualities but he is not a cute passer of the ball, he needs someone that can do that alongside him who also knows the discipline of the role. I don't see Conor Gallagher as the answer, it's not Trent and I don't see Gareth turning to Adam Wharton or Kobbie Mainoo just yet.

[video_shortcode_video_html_5 src="https://videos.dailymail.co.uk/video/mol/2024/06/20/2010867431851209065/1024x576_MP4_2010867431851209065.mp4" itemprop="image" content="https://videos.dailymail.co.uk/video/mol/2024/06/20/2010867431851209065/1024x576_MP4_2010867431851209065.mp4" data-src="https://videos.dailymail.co.uk/video/mol/2024/06/20/2010867431851209065/1024x576_MP4_2010867431851209065.mp4"]

England should shift Jude Bellingham (centre) back alongside Declan Rice (left) in midfield

England should shift Jude Bellingham (centre) back alongside Declan Rice (left) in midfield

Phil Foden (centre) should start behind Harry Kane in the No 10 position. Foden wants to play in the middle - Southgate should play him there

Phil Foden (centre) should start behind Harry Kane in the No 10 position. Foden wants to play in the middle - Southgate should play him there

Rice (pictured) has wonderful defensive qualities but he is not a cute passer of the ball

Rice (pictured) has wonderful defensive qualities but he is not a cute passer of the ball

Bellingham (right) can provide both athleticisim and his brilliant passing abillities next to Rice

Bellingham (right) can provide both athleticisim and his brilliant passing abillities next to Rice

Bellingham is 20 years old with great athleticism. He has been coached to be a midfield player all his life which will have included doing the hard yards running back towards his goal.

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England's senior stars make PLEA to their team-mates after alarming performance against Denmark

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He is capable of finding a pass, breaking forward to create a goal and then, if you lose possession, sprint back equally as hard to get goalside and in defensive shape. Rice has the intelligence to cover.

None of this 'well I'm a ten or I'm a six so I do this...' No! I'm sorry but I don't buy into this hanging numbers on people. If you're in midfield you do the hard yards, no excuses what number is on your back. We are all in it together. Do your duty. Deal with it.

As is the way, if the manager doesn't sort these problems out, he'll pay the ultimate price for failure.

[video_shortcode_video_html_5 src="https://videos.dailymail.co.uk/video/mol/2024/06/20/2010867431851209065/1024x576_MP4_2010867431851209065.mp4" itemprop="image" content="https://videos.dailymail.co.uk/video/mol/2024/06/20/2010867431851209065/1024x576_MP4_2010867431851209065.mp4" data-src="https://videos.dailymail.co.uk/video/mol/2024/06/20/2010867431851209065/1024x576_MP4_2010867431851209065.mp4"]

If Southgate does not resolve these issues he will pay the ultimate price for failure

If Southgate does not resolve these issues he will pay the ultimate price for failure

 

Tartan Army deserve more from their players 

I have to say if there was a league table for supporters at Euro 2024 then Scotland would be topping it.

They have been absolutely phenomenal in sticking by their team so far in Germany. The only problem was that Scotland started as if they didn't believe they belonged on this stage.

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JOHN McGARRY: Scots have a golden chance to finally end torment of 'glorious failure'

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As I'm all too aware from past tournaments, it's a familiar scenario now of having win the final game to go through but the goal difference suffered in that first game could ultimately come back to haunt them.

What they gave against Switzerland was the bare minimum of heart and soul. They earned a scruffy goal but just need that bit of quality at the top end of the pitch tomorrow night (Sunday).

We don't know what Hungary will turn up. Whether they are feeling sorry for themselves or angry at not performing better but if I was Scotland I'd prepare for the latter. One thing is for sure, you will certainly hear the support.

Scotland fans have been brilliant in Germany and perhaps have been the best supporters so far

Scotland fans have been brilliant in Germany and perhaps have been the best supporters so far

The only problem was that Scotland started as if they didn’t believe they belonged on this stage

The only problem was that Scotland started as if they didn’t believe they belonged on this stage

Scotland gave their heart and soul during their 1-1 draw against Switzerland on Wednesday

Scotland gave their heart and soul during their 1-1 draw against Switzerland on Wednesday

[video_shortcode_video_html_5 src="https://videos.dailymail.co.uk/video/mol/2024/06/20/2010867431851209065/1024x576_MP4_2010867431851209065.mp4" itemprop="image" content="https://videos.dailymail.co.uk/video/mol/2024/06/20/2010867431851209065/1024x576_MP4_2010867431851209065.mp4" data-src="https://videos.dailymail.co.uk/video/mol/2024/06/20/2010867431851209065/1024x576_MP4_2010867431851209065.mp4"]

 

I'm so happy to be ribbed by Alan Hansen 

My very good friend Alan Hansen has been taking the mickey out of me this week and I'm delighted for that to be the case.

It has been incredibly encouraging to speak to him not once but twice in the past few days and he was bang on form.

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GRAEME SOUNESS: I'm praying for Alan Hansen as he fights for his life

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Alan has been fighting for his life but he called me last Sunday while I was getting on a train from Berlin to Dusseldorf. I could see the number was Big Al and I was worried about answering at first but I called back and was delighted it was him who answered. I spoke to him again two days ago and it is all so encouraging. He's been in a difficult place, but the way he sounded, he's on the way back.

I said last week I was praying for him and couldn't wait for him to return to p***-taking duties, well he's definitely back to that. It's a great indicator that he is on the right path with his sense of humour, and I can't wait to reciprocate. I'll have my day, Big Al!

I spoke with Alan Hansen (right) two weeks ago and it sounded like he is on the way back after having been seriously ill in hospital

I spoke with Alan Hansen (right) two weeks ago and it sounded like he is on the way back after having been seriously ill in hospital

I said last week I was praying for Hansen (right) and couldn't wait for him to return to p***-taking duties, well he's definitely back to that

I said last week I was praying for Hansen (right) and couldn't wait for him to return to p***-taking duties, well he's definitely back to that

My friend Rod Stewart (pictured) has donated £10,000 to my chosen charity DEBRA

My friend Rod Stewart (pictured) has donated £10,000 to my chosen charity DEBRA

 

A wager with Rod Stewart 

Many of you will know I lost a bet with my old pal Rod Stewart over Celtic winning the Scottish Premiership League title which saw me donate £10,000 to his very worthwhile charity St Andrew's Hospice, in Airdrie, as my forfeit.

Well, he may be a Celtic fan but I'm delighted to say Rod, who is exceptionally generous when it comes to donating to good causes, has returned the favour with £10,000 to my chosen charity DEBRA.

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