Former Rangers manager and player Graeme Souness has launched a scathing attack on two of England’s young stars as well as Gareth Southgate’s tactics as the country was dumped out of the World Cup.
England scored the opening goal last night against Croatia inside five minutes courtesy of a stunning free kick from Kieran Trippier.
But they ultimately missed out on a place in Sunday’s final against raging favourites France, with the Croats coming from behind to secure a 2-1 win courtesy of Mario Mandzukic’s goal in the 19th minute of extra-time.
Souness, who managed Rangers from 1986-91 and is now a prominent Sky Sports commentator, was particularly scathing of young duo Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli in the defeat.
Speaking on BeIN Sports in the immediate aftermath of the match, Souness said: “I want to emphasise the midfield. You can’t win the big trophies, you can’t dominate football matches, you can’t put yourself in a position where you are not giving the ball away unless you’ve got good players in midfield who can keep the ball.
“I come back to Lingard and Dele Alli – two players who want to get on the end of things after there has been clever play by somebody else.
“They don’t want to get involved in keeping the ball and dominating possession.
“And the make up of the team was all wrong tonight. All wrong tonight. When they come up against a decent team, I think it’s inevitable that they were going to struggle tonight.
“Let me explain. They played the worst team in the tournament in Panama. They played, along with Saudi Arabia, probably the second worst team in the tournament, Tunisia.
“Put a line through the Belgium game, that doesn’t count.
“Then they play Colombia and in the second half, Colombia were much better than them. England came back in extra-time, but only after a Colombia player hit the crossbar.
“They get through on penalties.
“Then they play a team in Sweden, who were in awe of England. Both played a similar sort of game; long ball and feed off the bits.
“Tonight is the first time, other than the Belgium game, that they have come up against a team who wants to pop it around and keep possession – and they really, really were shown up for being a back-to-front team playing very basic football.”
Former Germany international Steffan Freund disagreed with Souness’s comments, but the Liverpool legend soon turned his attention to England captain Harry Kane.
“Harry Kane never got a kick tonight,” he said.
“Prior to tonight, he had five shots on target in all the games.
“Harry Kane does not get shots on target because nobody is passing him any quality passes.
“He’s not getting any supply.
“Harry Kane will come back from that with the Golden Boot, but I don’t know the boy, he might be happy, but Harry Kane will not be happy playing in that style of football.”