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England v Denmark: Southgate tactics ‘concern’ in Euro 2024 slog – Ferdinand

England have scored eight goals in their last seven matches

Rio Ferdinand watching football

Former England captain Rio Ferdinand has questioned Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate’s tactics and said their approach in their 1-1 draw against Denmark at Uefa Euro 2024 “lacked any sort of direction”.

England were considered contenders for the title but followed up a functional 1-0 win over Serbia with a flat second performance, dropping deep and struggling to control possession for much of the game after Harry Kane’s 18th-minute opener.

“Our players are too good to sit back and wait and hope to get through a game,” Ferdinand told BBC Sport. “We need to get to the bottom of whether the players are being told to do this or forced by the opposition.

“Denmark were well drilled and forced England to look very average. Our best, most decisive players are at the top of the pitch and we chose to sit back and defend.

“It just concerns me when I see the standard of players out there. Marc Guehi was tremendous, outstanding in everything he did.

“But I look at the players and they don’t look the same as they do for their clubs. It happened in my generation, so I understand exactly what it is.”

England tactics ‘overshadowed’

Southgate has been criticised for a conservative approach at previous major tournaments, when England reached the semi-finals of the 2018 Fifa World Cup and the final of Euro 2020 but were perceived not to have shown their full attacking potential.

Phil Foden hit a post in the 59th minute in Frankfurt in a rare moment of promise on an evening when Denmark had seven of the 11 attempts on target.

“Lacklustre, lacked any sort of direction, we were overshadowed tactically,” ex-Manchester United centre-back Ferdinand replied when he was asked to describe England’s display.

“At the moment, it doesn’t look good for them individually or as a team. There’s so much room for improvement. The team balance isn’t allowing the players to perform at their best.”

England ‘aren’t performing’

“Foden isn’t performing at his best,” added Ferdinand. “Maybe Jude Bellingham would be better as a No8. Please, just get them out on the training ground and get them doing some repetitions and drills.

“England looked like they were looking over their shoulder for advice and guidance on when to go. That can’t happen at this level.”

England are top of Group C on goal difference ahead of their final match of the opening stage against Slovenia.

Picture of Ben Miller

Ben Miller

Ben has more than 10 years' experience in sports journalism, covering two EURO tournaments, European club competitions, the Premier League, EFL and WSL and a variety of other major sporting events.