England manager Gareth Southgate made some interesting choices as the Three Lions defeated Denmark in the semifinals of the Euros. Despite Jack Grealish’s sensational performance against Germany in the round of 16, Southgate has been reluctant to use the Aston Villa midfield from the start.
It was only in the 69th minute when Southgate decided to bring on Grealish to add more creativity to break down the gritty Danish defence. However, shockingly the fan favourite midfielder was not allowed to see off the game against the Danes. He was taken off minutes after Harry Kane scored the rebound. Southgate brought on Keiran Trippier for the 25-year-old midfielder which left the fans and even the experts in shock.
However the England manager justified his tactical call after the game. He told talkSPORT, “Jack had a brilliant influence on the game.
“Denmark threw four forwards forward and we needed five [defenders] back. Raheem [Sterling] was such a threat that it was either going to be Phil [Foden] or Jack to get the solidity without the ball.
“We still needed to get that pressure up the pitch. We sank a little bit too deep for five minutes or so. We just needed to keep the ball and it took us five minutes to work that out. When we started to keep it, we were running the clock down with a lot less anxiety.”
It was a well thought plan from Southgate as he wanted his team to see off the slender lead for the last few minutes of the game.
However, Grealish understandably looked disappointed after he was taken off ahead of the final whistle. But one thing that Southgate has managed to do is to bring this team together. Hence even the Aston Villa midfielder was delighted after England made history to reach the finals of a major tournament after 1966.
“I love this team!! What a night at Wembley!” Grealish wrote on Twitter after the historic 2-1 win over Denmark.
The Three Lions will stand at the doorstep of history as they will go up against Italy in the finals of the European Championships. The Azzurri defeated Spain in the semifinals on penalties to reach the finals.