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How Gareth Southgate can help England take next step after World Cup exit

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Gareth Southgate may turn his attention to Euro 2024 after deciding to stay on as England manager.

England begin their qualifying campaign in March with a repeat of last year’s European Championship final against Italy and also face Ukraine, Malta and North Macedonia.

Here we see how Southgate can make England champions.

Keep faith

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Not all quarterfinal outings are the same. Yes, there was a familiarity about England’s quarter-final defeat to France in Qatar, but Southgate’s young team looked like real World Cup contenders and there could have been no complaints if the result had been reversed. In particular, the 4-3-3 formation allowed England’s exciting forwards to flourish without being too costly defensively.

start better

The main criticism of England’s performances in Qatar was their tendency to start slowly. He didn’t score a goal in the first 30 minutes in any of his five games. France punished the Southgate team with an early goal and while England responded very well in the second half, things could have been different had they found the same intensity in the first 45 minutes.

farm bellingham

While many English players impressed in Qatar, the most prominent was clearly the teenager Jude Bellingham. His energy and dynamism in midfield is a great asset on the international stage and his maturity for a 19-year-old is remarkable. Southgate is blessed with plenty of options in midfield and attack, but Bellingham is a team-building player.

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In-game tactics

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Southgate’s detractors, and there remain a considerable number, frequently point to his use of surrogates as a weakness. He certainly has the players to turn a game around off the bench and has a tendency to err on the side of conservatism. A little more boldness could help England take the next small step.

defensive force

John Stones and Harry Maguire both enjoyed a great tournament, but defense is one area Southgate must think about ahead of the Euros. Should he give Ben White and Fikayo Tomori more chances with an eye on the future? And where does Trent Alexander-Arnold fit in with Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier, both in their 30s?

Great party mentality

Although England have now reached the semi-finals, finals and quarter-finals in their last three tournaments, their record in competitive matches against the top nations remains poor. When the margins are this good, Southgate’s biggest battle may be simply getting his squad to fully believe they are good enough to lift the trophy.

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