Euro 2020: What England want to alter towards Czech Republic – Alan Shearer


There was a lot of doom and darkness after England’s disappointing draw with Scotland, but now the dust has settled and hopefully everyone has realized that there is no need to panic.

I’ve seen it suggested that we have to give up our entire attack for Tuesday’s game against the Czech Republic, which will decide who will lead Group D at Euro 2020, but that’s nonsense.

What we need to do is increase our intensity, move the ball faster, and bring it more forward. In addition, when we had a chance on Friday, we didn’t throw enough balls from our full-backs into the penalty area, especially from the right.

There’s no doubt that Harry Kane looked leggy so he can’t blame all of his teammates, but I attribute England’s poor performance to a combination of things – and we can get a lot of them right against the Czechs.

I remember after two group matches at the 2018 World Cup they talked about where we should try to finish and what our easiest way to get to the final would be.

Let’s forget about that this time. Second place might look attractive because we’d avoid one of the Group F giants in the round of 16 – France, Portugal or Germany – but we’d probably only play one of them in the quarter-finals.

So I think we shouldn’t even worry about who our preferred opponents are. Let’s just take care of ourselves and get the job done.

I want a positive performance and a win to prepare well for the next stage. That would mean we would lead the group and stay in the first round of 16 at Wembley, which would be a huge advantage, whoever we’re facing.

We don’t need two midfielders to hold onto the Czechs

Young Billy Gilmour starred on the show on Friday. What a game to make your first senior start for your country and to show such a performance for Scotland at Wembley Stadium speaks volumes for the player he is.

Jude Bellingham is able to make the same impact in English midfield if given the chance and the 17 year old is someone I want to include now.

Gareth Southgate was right to start Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice against Croatia because they gave us the run in the middle of the park when they beat us in the semi-finals at the 2018 World Cup.

It worked out perfectly against them last weekend, but not against Scotland.

We were too slow and clumsy in possession of the ball and didn’t need two men in this role as midfielders. It meant there was no penetration from players trying to breach Scotland’s defensive lines and we were too predictable on the ball.

The Czechs will of course be threatened – Patrik Schick is the tournament’s joint top scorer and looks full of self-confidence – but I think as a team they will sit back and try to make it harder for us to break down.

They only need a draw to win the group and it will be up to England to take action against them and prevent them from getting it. That is why a midfielder is enough.

Kane is getting better and so is England

We haven’t conceded a goal in this tournament, but we’ve only scored once so far.

Someone has to provide the creative spark if we win on Tuesday and playing Jack Grealish would definitely help us there.

I know he came on against Scotland in the last half hour but that wasn’t enough time to affect this game.

When Grealish kicks off this time, it’ll freshen up our attack and give us the added threat we’ve seen so little against Scotland – we didn’t get Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling and Mason Mount on the ball like we did against Croatia.

One player to keep his seat, however, is Harry Kane. Forget to leave out our captain and leader – he’s the Premier League top scorer and also made most of the assists so it would be ridiculous to drop him now.

It has also proven itself at this level, as we saw in Russia three years ago. If we want to get deep into this tournament, we need him to be in top form.

We haven’t seen him do that at Euro 2020, but we know how good he is. Harry didn’t look and score well in our first two games, but has barely smelled a goal because of the lack of service.

One chance and one finish and that changes. I am confident that he will be better – and so will England.

Alan Shearer spoke to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

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