IT’S not time to panic.
Yes, England’s display on Friday was bad, dreadful, but now they have the chance to put it right.
3 Gareth Southgate has time to make amends after the Czech Republic defeatCredit: Getty – Contributor
It was a surprise we lost the game having walked to this point in the group so far, but what was more of a surprise was how poor we were. I didn’t see that performance coming.
It’s not what we’ve come to expect under Gareth Southgate. At the very least we’ve seen high-tempo, high-energy, attacking football.
But we looked leggy, tired and there wasn’t that drive.
No one has labelled the new England team ‘great’ but we are certainly better than we showed on Friday.
Thankfully, they have the chance to put it right straight away in Bulgaria and secure qualification for the Euros.
When you lose — and play that badly — you want a game immediately after and they’ve got that.
Everyone is allowed a below-par performance from time to time but it’s how you react.
Of course Friday’s performance is going to be criticised and scrutinised but you’re playing for England, you should expect that.
And what they should also expect is more changes from Southgate for tonight’s game.
When you’ve played like that, barely any of the team can argue if they are dropped for the next match.
It would be unfair to pin it on any individuals. He’ll make more changes, I’m sure of that.
You could make a case for Friday’s team being a surprise, as four of the back five are going through a tough spell.
3 Quite a few players were in poor form going into Friday's game in PragueCredit: PA:Press Association
Jordan Pickford and Michael Keane with Everton, Harry Maguire with Manchester United and Danny Rose with Tottenham.
You look at their form and their club results and they weren’t exactly bouncing going into the international break.
Perhaps you would like to think they could go in fresh and look at it as an opportunity but clearly they didn’t do that.
I fully expect changes at the back and maybe even in the formation.
Gareth started with a 4-2-3-1 but changed it soon enough when it clearly wasn’t working.
But I think he’s still searching for what he feels is the right system and personnel to fill it.
He’s brought so many players in and with the likes of Mason Mount and James Maddison in the original squad, the manager is clearly looking for different options.
He’s entitled to change it, he knew it wasn’t right on Friday and he’s moved England forward all the time since taking over.
There has been some criticism of making too many changes to the team but I don’t agree with that.
In the past, we’ve wanted youth and our young English players given a chance. They’ve had that this season in teams likes Chelsea and Leicester, so Gareth has given them their opportunity.
We’re always quick to talk about the problem with the lack of English players in the Premier League, so I’m happy they are getting chances at club and international level.
I hope we see a better performance and result tonight.
It’s down to the players now to show they are better than what we suffered last week.
JAMES MADDISON has not covered himself in glory after we saw pictures in The Sun of him in a casino on Friday night.
He was sent home ill, as the FA said, from England duty when he was in line for a debut.
So if that’s the case he can’t be seen in a casino while the match is on — it’s not a good look.
MOST READ IN FOOTBALLExclusiveMADD NIGHT OUT Maddison gambling with England career after being spotted at casino ExclusiveBLUES' HOME GAME John Terry buys £4.35m mansion near Wayne Bridge after 'seducing' his ex NOT KEANE Roy Keane warns Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard they may never play for England again LOST IN TRANSLATION Croatia sack Uefa translator on the spot ahead of Wales qualifier GossipMONEY MAKERS Man Utd 'expect world record shirt deal' despite losing £450m Chevrolet RISKY BUSINESS James seemingly knocked out – as Mason hits out at medics after playing on ExclusiveGONE TO WAR Coleen and Becky will NEVER patch it up and Coleen will come out on top GossipCR-AMP HIS STYLE Chelsea consider Ampadu recall after lack of playing time at RB Leipzig
You see some players making their point when they’re not in the squad by posting pictures of themselves training.
But being seen in a casino DURING the game is not what you want to see. It’s a shame as he’s been playing really well, getting good goals and assists for Leicester and deserved his chance.
Maddison is going to have to do a lot more of that to get himself in the England picture again.
3 James Maddison has not covered himself in glory