The former England international believes the Three Lions boss deserves praise for his “pragmatic” approach throughout the tournament.
were stopped in their last step toward winning the Euro 2020 title on Sunday. The Three Lions were beaten on penalties byItaly
, after being held to a 1-1 draw at Wembley.
was criticized for his conservative tactics after the defeat, but
believes the England boss must not be judged by his side’s performance in a dramatic penalty shootout.
He toldSky Sports
"I saw after the game people saying Southgate should have made more substitutions, these players should have taken the penalties; these are the same people who have been saying that he should have played a different system against Germany, that he should not have played Kieran Trippier against Croatia, that he should have played a more attacking system.
"I genuinely believe that Southgate and his players navigated their way to this final in the only way they could and that was to be a little more pragmatic - put the two holding midfield players in front of defence; if it needed to be a back five, it was because of the shape or quality of the other team.”
England displayed great form throughout the tournament. Southgate's side conceded only two goals in their Euro 2020 matches, while they eliminated Germany, Ukraine, and Denmark in the knock-out stages.
"He found a way to get to the final. Sometimes we all like to be purists at times and want him to find a way to play all those attacking players but I don't think England would have got to the final if they had gone punch to punch with some of the nations they came across along the way.
"I think Gareth knew he had to play a certain way to get to the final and he did that. At the end, it comes down to small margins, details like penalties. This is not the time to be criticising tactics and substitutions.
"The reality is that Southgate has proved so many of us wrong - not just in this tournament but over the last two years - about decisions he has made - it would be a nonsense now to start suggesting we are right about substitutions and penalty takers when most of us have not seen this in our lifetimes."
Southgate confirmed on Sunday that he will continue his job as England’s manager. The Three Lions will have to dust themselves off ahead of their World Cup qualifying campaign, which will be started by their clash againstHungary
on September 2.
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