Opinion: It might be too early for England, but their time can come

It is two wins from two for Gareth Southgate’s England in their World Cup qualifying after recent wins over San Marino and Albania.

Monday, 29th March 2021, 11:51 am
England eased past Albania in confident fashion. (Photo by Mattia Ozbot/Getty Images)

Those wins were accompanied by two clean sheets and with seven goals scored in the process, it has not been a bad week’s work so far for the Three Lions.

But with only three games to go until the European Championships, Wednesday’s tough-looking qualifier against Poland will show what shape England are in heading into a tournament they are early favourites to win.

Well, a lot has been written about the quality at Southgate’s disposal, especially in some of the attacking areas, and as I wrote in one of my previous columns, finding the right system and formation to harness the most out of that attacking talent will be key in how well England do at the Euro’s this summer.

Gareth Southgate must be suffering from one major headache at the moment. It is almost impossible to find anyone who would pick the same eleven for that opening game against Croatia. In some ways, as ridiculous as it might sound, we have got too many good players in some positions.

Phil Foden is a great example of the problem facing Southgate. He is an exceptional talent who clearly has bags of potential but if you play him out wide, it means you cannot play a Marcus Rashford or Jadon Sancho. If you play him centrally, where do you play Jack Grealish or Mason Mount?

I’m sure Southgate will have some idea of what he’ll go with and we’ll no doubt get a better idea from the pre-tournament friendlies.

On the pitch, and you can only say it is a case of “Job done”. England were always going to beat San Marino and, on another day, they could have had more than the five goals. Albania were tricky opponents, who looked to stifle England, but the team managed to break their resistance.

So, with the Euro’s fast approaching, there are reasons to be optimistic for England fans but still plenty of work to be done.

This team being pre-tournament favourites feels a little premature, it’s hard to look past France for me, but this is a young team so if their time is not this summer, it may not be too far way.