In light of a dull 0-0 draw against Demark in the UEFA Nations League, Gareth Southgate has defended his change in formation and admitted that England were experimenting with a new system. The Three Lions sit second in Group A2 behind Belgium with the Red Devils having won both their games.
After a frustrating and uninspiring night against Iceland, England were forced to endure more of the same from Denmark. However, while the game against Strákarnir okkar did see Harry Kane wrongfully denied a goal before Raheem Sterling netted from the spot, things changed against the Danish side. Instead, the Three Lions laboured to create much against their opponents on the night with their first shot on target coming twenty minutes from time.
However, it did see Jack Grealish, Conor Coady and Ainsley Maitland-Niles all make an appearance in what were the only bright spots for Gareth Southgate. Yet, the former Middlesbrough manager defended his tactics and structure and admitted that England were experimenting with a new system. Southgate further added that he wanted to create a system that works against the better quality teams and claimed that he liked what he saw against Denmark.
"We have learned a lot. We tried a new system which we will get better at given everything we have had to deal with - 10 pull-outs for various reasons. So we felt we wanted to start with stability - we could have probably been a bit higher with attacking threat in the first half, but we were in control and given the stage of the season the players are at that was really important. It wasn't a game where we were going to be able to press high for 90 minutes so physically that had a bearing on the formation we played as well," Southgate told Sky Sports.
“We need to think about how we can develop the system against some of the higher-quality teams because against the lower nations that we've played, the 4-3-3 works very well. You lose a bit of the attacking threat in terms of the No 8s that we play but we look very solid defensively which is a great platform to build on. The options that we had to play a 4-3-3 tonight weren't going to get through the 90 minutes and this was the best way to refresh the team but also to look at something different."