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Belgium defeat a timely reminder that this talented England squad is not there yet

England suffered a 2-0 loss to Belgium
England suffered a 2-0 loss to Belgium
ANALYST
Modified 16 Nov 2020, 15:37 IST
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Gareth Southgate sunk to a new low following England’s latest defeat to Belgium in the UEFA Nations League. The Three Lions put up a mixed performance but their opponents were just too good.

Goals from Youri Tielemans and Dries Mertens helped Belgium to a 2-0 win against England on Sunday and the result saw Southgate equal an unwanted record since his appointment.

The 50-year-old has become the first England manager since Sven-Goran Eriksson to lose 10 games, and while Eriksson needed 67 games to lose this number of games, Southgate has taken just 48.

The jury is, therefore, out and many have already started criticizing the manager for failing to get the best out of the team. In truth, England boasts a very talented squad but they are not yet world beaters.

Individually, the likes of Declan Rice, Jack Grealish and Mason Mount are brilliant players with lots of potential, but the loss against Belgium is a timely reminder that this England team has still some way to go.

"We don't like losing, but enormous credit to the team, all the way through they created problems and defended resiliently," Southgate told Sky Sports after the game.
"I thought we were excellent. I couldn't have enough praise for the players. If you play at the level we did tonight, I think we will win more games than we lose."

Indeed, there were lots of positives from this game. Southgate is building a new team and he must be given time to get the job done. It is understandable that some England fans are frustrated by the team’s lack of success in recent years.

However, it was the same Southgate who led the Three Lions to the semi-final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The team he used to attain that feat, though, is totally different from the current squad.

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Aside from Jordan Pickford, Harry Kane, Jordan Henderson, Kyle Walker and Eric Dier, the rest are all new players that are still acclimatizing to Southgate’s methods and systems.

England legend Gary Lineker succinctly analyzed England’s loss to Belgium and the clear positives that the team can expect in the near future.  

“England obviously have a few players missing and some worries defensively, but much encouragement too, particularly in the 2nd half. It’s early for this young team but 2 years this month the World Cup will be played and they’ll be very competitive,” Lineker tweeted.

This is a talented England squad but expectations need to be measured because the team is just not there yet.

Published 16 Nov 2020, 15:37 IST
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