Ex-England boss Eriksson lauds Southgate for letting youngsters play

Sun 11 July 2021 | 12:20

Sven-Goran Eriksson, a former England coach, feels Gareth Southgate's determination to try out young players was a key component in his team's run to the Euro 2020 finale.

Southgate has a selecting conundrum as the Three Lions prepares for their first

European Championship

final facing Italy on Sunday, with many youthful talents fighting for a place in the starting Eleven. 

Eriksson, who managed England at

Euro 2004

and two World Cups, commended Southgate's work, particularly in terms of integrating young players into his squad.

"He has done a great job, that's for sure," Eriksson told

Sky Sports News

. "But there are a lot of good, young footballers coming through. He has given them the chance, which is a brave way to do things and he has let them play. Southgate has been doing great, and you see the result in getting to the final.

"He has so many options. You have Phil (Foden), (Jadon) Sancho, (Jack) Grealish, (Marcus) Rashford, it is just choosing who is in the best shape. Southgate is very lucky, he has a lot of good, young, hungry players with pace and technique on the bench and that is great.

"Grealish can make the difference, he is a great player, I like him very much. In one against one situations he can open up the Italy defence. I think England have a better bench than Italy, the first teams are very good, but England's is very good."

England was knocked out of two of the three tournaments in penalty shootouts with Eriksson at the team's helm, but the Swede believes Southgate's team is more ready than his was if the game goes to penalties on Sunday. 

"Southgate has been more clever than I was on penalties," he added. "I did not take in a mental coach on penalties and other things. I think England has that now.

"With penalties it is not about technique, it is about mental strength at that moment. It is not easy, in a quarter-final, semi-final, and more in a final. I don't want to see a winner on penalties, I want to see a winner in normal football time."

Eriksson also spoke about Italy manager Roberto Mancini, whom he coached at




when he was a player.

"I worked with Mancini for nine years, so of course I know him very well," he added. "He lives for football. He was a coach even when he was a player. Anyone could see he would be a manager in the future.

"He is a man who wants everything done perfectly, to dress, eat, practice and play. He wants to play beautiful football, not defensive football, he wants to attack. He was like that as a player, and he was a fantastic player, full of creation. He is the same as a coach, very calm.

"He thinks he will win tonight, he won't do anything different in the line-up or the way he plays just because it is a final. He will stick to what Italy can do, play on the counter-attack."


source: SportMob

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