England are bit short on match fitness and sharpness but we’re getting there, admits Gareth Southgate

In light of England’s 1-0 win over Czech Republic, Gareth Southgate has asserted that his side have the freedom to play how they want but still need to get fully match fit. The Three Lions won their final group game to qualify for the Round of 16 and topped Group D with Croatia finish second.

With Gareth Southgate naming four changes, it saw England play with more freedom and clarity with the likes of Bukayo Saka and Jack Grealish thriving in free-roles. However, with criticism and hate from fans, it does have many concerned as to how England are playing with Southgate opting to be more pragmatic and safe with his lineups so far. But with England through into the Round of 16 having won two games and drawing the third against Scotland.

However, with questions about whether England have it in them to play champagne football and Gareth Southgate admitted that his side are more than capable. However, Southgate also admitted that his side need to recover match-fitness and sharpness but once that changes, their game should change and transform.

“We would like to see that as well (when asked about champagne football). I think if you spoke to the players, we spoke a lot about that freedom, but we are a little bit short in a few areas of match fitness and sharpness, and I thought as the game wore on that started to take its toll a bit,” Southgate said, reported the BBC.

“We have hit the woodwork in all three matches and the other thing we have to get better on is our attacking set-play which is normally such a good source of goals for us and our deliveries have been really poor. We are difficult to score against at the moment and although we’re not perhaps flowing as much as we’d like, that solidity is critical for any team doing well.”

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