Euro 2024: Three England problems Gareth Southgate must solve after dull Denmark draw

21 June 2024, 10:51 | Updated: 21 June 2024, 13:24

Completing their Euro 2024 group against Slovenia on Tuesday brings back memories for England of another tournament when they were booed by their own fans.

Slovenia were the only team beaten by England at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa in an era of underachievement, despite all the talent available.

Sound familiar?

Gareth Southgate endures what so many predecessors have struggled with - producing performances and results to match the high expectations.

The England manager saw it in 2018 - reaching the World Cup semi-finals but then wilting under the spotlight against Croatia.

He saw it in 2021 at Wembley - initially overpowering Italy in the Euros final only to lose on penalties.

And he saw it again on Thursday night in Frankfurt in the 1-1 draw with Denmark at these Euros, as England's control descended into capitulation.

So where does it leave their campaign in Germany and what does Southgate need to address?

Remember, this isn't a unique situation. It is now 10 appearances at European Championships that Englishmen have failed to open the tournament with two wins.

• Plan ahead

Don't panic - England already seem to have enough points to qualify for the knockout phase.

Staying top of Group C avoids meeting a group winner.

But if England finish second, it could be hosts Germany standing in the way of the quarter-finals.

And if they finish third, they may not know their last-16 opponents until Wednesday, the day after their last group game against Slovenia.

• Midfield muddle

The lack of structure and cohesion in midfield is a problem.

Surely the Denmark game marks the end of seeing defender Trent Alexander-Arnold being deployed in midfield?

Perhaps Phil Foden is in need of a rest against Slovenia - ready to be unleashed later in Germany to recapture the form that saw him named the Premier League's Player of the Season and FWA Footballer of the Year while sweeping to a fourth title in a row with Manchester City.

Last night's laboured performance in the heat of Frankfurt - with the roof closed - was in desperate need of a spark of creativity.

Southgate left Jack Grealish and James Maddison at home after a season of struggles with fitness and form.

Why, though, is he yet to give any playing time at the Euros to Cole Palmer? The 22-year-old was Premier League Young Player of the Season with 22 goals and 11 assists as the shining light in an underwhelming Chelsea side.

Would Eberechi Eze benefit from more than the 22-minute cameo against Denmark in which he managed only 10 touches of the ball?

• Goal threat

After the Denmark draw, Harry Kane pointed to uncertainty in the side over pressing opponents.

Once the other team starts dropping deeper, England can't figure out how to exert more pressure on them.

Kane and Jude Bellingham did attempt to get ahead of the Danish midfielders in the second half - when it was already 1-1 - but they couldn't make an impact.

Read more:
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Yet Bellingham, who scored the only goal in the opening win over Serbia, certainly knows how to be effective at club level.

Just look at his 23 goals and 10 assists in his first 42 games for Real Madrid last season.

And Kane was even more prolific at Bayern - contributing 44 goals and setting up another 12 in 45 games.