Friday, September 20, 2019

Gareth Southgate right to blood youngsters in the Nations League

David Nugent in Editorial, General Soccer News 15 Oct 2018

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According to media reports, England boss Gareth Southgate could name a youthful England team for tonight’s Nations League clash with Spain in Seville.

Southgate has talked about bringing youngsters through as an important aspect of his job as Three Lions boss. Well, the former Middlesbrough boss has certainly stuck by his theory on his young guns, as he has given a number of youngsters their chance of late.

Youngsters set to start in Seville

According to Sky Sports, versatile Liverpool defender Joe Gomez and Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks are set to start for the Three Lions in the clash. Leicester left-back Ben Chilwell may also start the game.

Manchester United’s still young Marcus Rashford could also start the game, despite numerous missed opportunities in the 0-0 draw against Croatia last time out in the Nations League.

Dortmund whiz kid Jadon Sancho made a cameo last time out and could have a similar chance in Seville. Meanwhile, fellow new boys Mason Mount and James Maddison will also be hoping to pick up their first senior caps.

The pair were selected for their creative abilities. However, they two failed to get on the pitch against Croatia last time out. Hopefully, they will manage some pitch time in this clash.

A learning curve for Southgate

Gareth Southgate stated after the World Cup that he was looking to add players to his squad. Monday night’s game will be a learning curve for Southgate, as he assesses which players are ready to make the step-up on a permanent basis.

In reality, the Nations League will not be high on the England bosses priority list. He will be looking at players for the start of qualifying for Euro 2020, which starts in February.

Although the team’s results in the Nations League will have a slight effect on their world ranking, the main purpose of the competition is to add competitiveness to uncompetitive games.

The fact that Southgate is so ready to through in untested youngsters shows the competition’s lack of importance. The England boss will try things out both player wise and formation wise against Spain, who are heading into the game on the back of a 4-1 hammering of Wales.

Monday night’s game will be a good test for the England team, as the Three Lions tend to struggle against top-class opposition. Spain have been hard to beat in recent years, so England will be up against it to record a victory. However, Southgate and his coaching team will be looking at the teams and players performances, rather than the result.

Spain comfortable favourites to record a victory

Spain are comfortable favourites to beat England at odds of 8/13 and for good reason as La Roja Furia have lost just one of their last 27 games in 90 minutes. That is a formidable record and one that England look unlikely to dent on Monday night.

Most England fans will be excited and interested to see how the youngsters perform on the big stage. These sorts of games can only be good for young players looking to add to their football experience.

One good thing about a young England team is that they will go out and be relatively fearless, while maybe even enjoying the game. A defeat is unlikely to harm any of them either, as I am not too sure anybody takes the Nations League seriously.

In short, as an England fan and a cynic, I expect the Three Lions to suffer defeat. However, if the young players learn something from the game, then the defeat will at least not be in vain.

Will England’s youngsters thrive in Seville?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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