England and Gareth Southgate wondered after ‘terrible’ USA draw – how the football world has reacted

England and Gareth Southgate questioned after ‘terrible’ USA draw – how the soccer world reacted – PA/Mike Egerton

Gareth Southgate has urged his England side to keep calm and carry on, despite being booed by his own fans after suffering a World Cup reality check against the United States.

England top Group B and on course to qualify for the knockout stages of the tournament, but were lucky to emerge with a draw in their second match.

Christian Pulisic hit the crossbar and England rarely threatened their opponents until the death, when Harry Kane missed a great chance with a header.

While the goalless draw isn’t a disaster in group terms, with England needing a draw against Wales to progress and a win to clinch top spot, it means Southgate can’t rest their players for next Tuesday’s fight.

It has also put pressure on Southgate, who will face fresh allegations of being too conservative after leaving Phil Foden on the bench.

When asked about the boos England faced, Southgate said: “But were we booed? Not sure if he was addressing us. I do not know. Personally, I am satisfied with the gamers application. Coming out of the peak performance of the other day and finding the same energy and quality was always going to be a challenge.

“Of course, I want our fans to go home happy and our fans back home to have smiles on their faces. We failed to achieve this today. But people will react the way they do.

“We have to keep calm in these moments. We have already participated in tournaments. We had a unique thing by overcoming the bottom two in two games. This is the outdoor noise tournament and we will add another layer to it, I’m sure.

“The players were very down and disappointed afterwards, but I told them it wasn’t going to be like this. I thought they showed another side and that will be important for the future.”

Southgate brought in Jordan Henderson, Jack Grealish and Marcus Rashford, while Foden remained on the bench and the England coach didn’t use all of his substitutes.

“Obviously whichever of our forwards we hadn’t worn if we hadn’t won the game, I would have been sitting here answering questions about why I didn’t wear them,” said Southgate.

“We wanted to change the outside areas, we didn’t think it was a game for Phil in the center because he doesn’t play there for his club and in defense it was a really complicated game for the midfield three to sort out.

“That’s why we thought Hendo could help us in that moment, as well as give Jude (Bellingham) a physical rest. It was a game to gain experience in the middle of the box and then it was a decision on outside players.

“We thought Marcus’ speed would be important and Jack could get the ball upfield for us, win fouls and take the pressure off us. We definitely love Phil, he’s a super player. We could have gone with Phil and maybe things would have been different but that was the choice we made tonight.

England's Jack Grealish has been substituted against the United States - England and Gareth Southgate questioned after the

England’s Jack Grealish substituted against USA – England and Gareth Southgate questioned after ‘terrible’ USA draw – how the soccer world reacted – PA/Adam Davy

Raheem Sterling disappeared into the tunnel after being taken off and Southgate said: “With Raheem, he is one of the players in the drug tests so I think he started refueling early on in his recovery. I think he went on the bench anyway first and then he came on.”

There were positives for Southgate, notably the performances of centre-backs John Stones and Harry Maguire.

“With Harry, I’m happy for him,” Southgate said. “This is the main thing. He was such an important player for us. We never had a single doubt about how important he was to us or about the faith we needed to show. He proved it with and without the ball in the two games we played.”

Pulisic believes the boos for England reflected well on the United States, saying: “I guess it’s a positive sign when you’re playing for the other team. I thought it was a really good performance from us. There have been spells where we’ve dismissed them straight away and opposing fans don’t like to see it when we’re the ‘underdogs’. But I thought we had a really good performance. We should be proud of the performance.”

What the pundits had to say about England’s draw

Roy Keane, who works as a World Cup pundit for ITV, said: “England looked leggy, paced and out of ideas. Even from set pieces you never felt they had a goal blocked. It was a terrible performance”.

Presenter Mark Pougatch speculated that England might have struggled to adjust to a 10pm kick-off in Qatar, to which Keane provided a mocking reply.

“We could stay here all night making excuses… if you’re a professional footballer you travel all over Europe playing in different conditions and systems,” said Keane. “They were playing darts last night…before the game they were a good bunch of players.”

The comparison was made with England’s 0-0 draw against Scotland in their second match of Euro 2020, a tournament in which they reached the final before losing to Italy on penalties.

“Tournaments are very rarely a bed of roses all the way,” said Gary Neville after the match in the ITV studio. “It was poor, we are all disappointed and expected more from England.”

Why no Foden?

Neville has expressed disappointment with England’s midfield duo Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham, with the US trio of Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams and Yunus Musah dominating that area.

The former Manchester United and England right-back also said the decision to seat Trent Alexander-Arnold and Foden on the bench was questionable.

“I’m a little conflicted because I have enormous respect for Gareth Southgate,” said Neville. “But we have a couple of talents sitting on the bench in the form of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Foden who are able to open up the game.

“Alexander-Arnold has some of the best deliveries you’ve ever seen at full back and on that right side when Rashford came in, he had Henderson and Trippier so he was prevented from getting that delivery.

“I think those two coming off the bench are a bit disappointing, if you’re looking to win the game they are world-class talent.”

The former Manchester United right-back also said: “Other countries, France, Spain, Brazil would have Trent Alexander-Arnold and Foden as starters.”

England's Phil Foden reacts on the bench ahead of the FIFA World Cup - GETTY IMAGES/Ryan Pierse

England’s Phil Foden reacts on the bench ahead of the FIFA World Cup – GETTY IMAGES/Ryan Pierse

Alongside him, Ian Wright said: “The same goes for the European Championships, we started well and then struggled against Scotland. Listen to Harry Kane in his post-match interview, he didn’t seem too concerned about that.”

Southgate decision making

Gary Lineker spoke for many England fans when he questioned Southgate’s ability to change games off the bench, tweeting immediately after the final whistle:

Though Lineker was keen to point out that England haven’t lost much ground in terms of prospects for the tournament overall:

There was also praise for the United States’ performance, with ex-Bolton Wanderers midfielder Stuart Holden selecting Tyler Adams as star player:

Holden also told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I’m cheerful. We’re feeling really good about that game. I thought the United States would go ahead and win the game in the second half. I was really happy with how we pressed England.

“We are the third youngest team in the tournament. I think Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams played really well. It’s still the same challenge for USA: beat Iran and go through. I wish we would have tried in the last 10 minutes because we had nothing to lose in this game. This is what you saw from the USA youth game. The Americans at home will be proud that we matched up with you guys.

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