CHRIS SUTTON: Gareth Southgate won’t have learnt much about his England side after this non-contest… the most intriguing part of this game was an insight into his tactical plans
What did we learn? One, being a San Marino striker must be the most thankless task in football.
Two, Nick Pope missed a trick not tucking his mobile phone in his sock to keep him entertained. Three, Gareth Southgate decided to use this free hit as an opportunity to field a back four. In doing that, he dropped his previously-preferred back three.
That was probably the most intriguing element of this non-contest at Wembley Stadium – along with Southgate revealing that he already knows his best XI for Croatia in England’s Euro 2020 opener. It makes you wonder.
England’s non-contest v San Marino won’t have given Gareth Southgate much food for thought
Speaking recently to someone who knows Southgate, he told me to expect England to go into Euro 2020 with a plan to be versatile. The Three Lions boss wants to be able to use the back three against the stronger sides, and the back four against the weaker ones in order to open them up.
They did that to San Marino here. England were always going to win this game against the world’s worst football team. It was just a question of how many goals they’d get.
The sight of San Marino trying to play it out from the back was uncomfortable and they were punished for it. England’s players, to their credit, went into this with an excellent attitude.
But I’d be surprised if Southgate came out of this game thinking he’d learned a great deal about any of his men. How do you judge Pope on this, for example? England won. They’re on the road to Qatar 2022. Now for Albania on Sunday.
Southgate’s tactics were far more intriguing as he opted for a back four in the 5-0 thrashing