Ian Wright calls out Gareth Southgate on ITV after England boss' strange comment – Football News

Ian Wright calls out Gareth Southgate on ITV after England boss' strange comment

Ian Wright has questioned England manager Gareth Southgate. (Image: ITV/GETTY)

Ian Wright has shot down Gareth Southgate after the England manager claimed he doesn’t have a natural replacement for Kalvin Phillips at Euro 2024. England produced another below-par performance in Thursday’s 1-1 draw against Denmark in Frankfurt, further intensifying scrutiny on Southgate’s credentials.

Harry Kane fired the Three Lions ahead, but, like against Serbia last Sunday, performance levels dropped after the first-half opener.

England held on to win their curtain-raiser 1-0 in Gelsenkirchen, but Morten Hjulmand punished them this time around through a sensational long-range strike.

Southgate’s side need to beat Slovenia to top Group C and guarantee a more favourable run to the July 14 final, so a draw with Denmark wasn’t all doom and gloom.

But the latest poor showing was a cause for concern, with the midfield duo of Declan Rice and Trent Alexander-Arnold, in particular, struggling to take control.

After the Denmark stalemate, Southgate admitted that using Alexander-Arnold – a natural right-back – in midfield was an experiment to replace Phillips.

“He’s had some moments where he has delivered what we thought he would,” Southgate said on Alexander-Arnold.

“We know it is an experiment and we don’t have a natural replacement for Kalvin Phillips, but we’re trying some different things and at the moment we’re not flowing as we’d like, that’s for sure.”

Gareth Southgate trusted Kalvin Phillips.

Gareth Southgate trusted Kalvin Phillips. (Image: Getty)

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Southgate handed Phillips his England debut in 2020 and has used him 31 times since.

He played a bit-part role at the 2022 World Cup but was crucial in the nation’s run to the Euro 2020 final, forming a strong partnership with Rice.

Phillips’ club form since leaving Leeds United for Manchester City saw him miss out on a spot in England’s Euro 2024 squad, though.

Southgate’s comments raised eyebrows among fans and pundits, considering he also has Conor Gallagher, Kobbie Mainoo and Adam Wharton at his disposal in Germany.

Wright rubbished his claims, pointing towards Mainoo and Wharton as more natural midfield replacements that Southgate selected.

He explained on ITV: “Listening to Gareth [Southgate], I think he mentioned Kalvin Phillips, and he’s the only one in the country who could play that role – I don’t believe that.

“I believe that Adam Wharton can play it, and I believe Kobbie Mainoo could play it as well – and you’ve picked them.”

While the Slovenia game next Tuesday is now a must-win occasion, Southgate is now under pressure to try something new to extract more from his ultra-talented squad.

Source: https://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/1913776/England-news-Ian-Wright-Gareth-Southgate-ITV-Euro-2024