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5 things Gareth Southgate needs to fix about England

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England, one of the so-called favourites to win the 2022 World Cup later this year, are enduring a historically poor run of form which has seen them relegated from their Nations League group with their worst goal drought in 22 years.

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Gareth Southgate’s side look nothing like the team that made it to the final of Euro 2020 and they could hardly have picked a worse time to fall into a slump.

Here’s what the boss needs to figure out.

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Alexander-Arnold has been restricted / Ciancaphoto Studio/GettyImages

Southgate has made it abundantly clear that Trent Alexander-Arnold is not his preferred right-back. On current form, that’s not the most contentious decision, but the reality is that the Liverpool star is one of very few players with a genuine eye for a pass.

If Southgate doesn’t want to play Alexander-Arnold (which is fine), he needs a backup plan. A midfield duo of Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham is elite in many areas, but creativity isn’t one.

The option of calling up James Maddison is there, but whether Southgate will take it at this point is an entirely different question.

Phil Foden

Foden is struggling to get involved / Giuseppe Cottini/GettyImages

Among Southgate’s regulars, Phil Foden is the closest thing to a creative hub, but the role he actually plays during matches is a mystery.

The 22-year-old has played in a whole host of positions for his country, including in central midfield and on both wings, and he appears to be struggling with a lack of fluidity as a result.

Foden needs to be a focal point of this side, and that means he needs a settled position.

Harry Maguire

England’s setup doesn’t seem to be working / Giuseppe Cottini/GettyImages

England’s three-at-the-back setup was designed to make them tough to beat. It worked in the past but now the entire point of the system has been lost.

The biggest problem these days is a lack of goals and playing with three central defenders obviously doesn’t help that.

Look at the personnel involved and it feels as though England’s stars are being made to fit into Southgate’s system regardless of their natural positions. It’s just not working anymore.

Harry Kane

England are too reliant on Kane / Michael Regan/GettyImages

Let’s just be clear, Harry Kane is one of the best strikers on the planet and deserves to start for England. There’s no debate on that.

However, when Tottenham’s talisman has an off day or is finding it hard to influence the game, it’s usually curtains for England. Nobody else seems comfortable shouldering the goalscoring burden.

Southgate called up Brentford’s Ivan Toney, but just when there felt like there was some hope, left him out of the matchday squad against Italy.

Gareth Southgate

England need to start having fun again / Marco Luzzani/GettyImages

A lot of England’s recent success stemmed from their bond with the fans. Supporters loved what they were watching and the players clearly fed off that. Nowadays, however, that fun is gone.

Fans have turned on Southgate and have been vocal with their frustration towards things, and it’s that negativity which is now rubbing off on the squad.

The players aren’t enjoying things and it shows. The fun factor is gone, and performances have disappeared with it.

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