Giacomo Raspadori scored the winner midway through the second half at the San Siro against the lackluster Three Lions side. England have now failed to win their five previous games and have been relegated from the Nations League Group A.
Southgate decided to experiment with his team's formation as he went with a 3-4-3 formation, with Bukayo Saka placed at left wing-back. After the visitors fell behind, the manager made two substitutions as Jack Grealish and Luke Shaw were brought on for Kyle Walker and Saka.
The changes didn't work, and England never really looked like scoring throughout the clash despite having 57% possession and 14 shots. Southgate's side also appeared to be horribly exposed down the flanks and their lack of creativity is a real concern ahead of the World Cup later this year.
Players like Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane and Phil Foden offered little in the clash, and supporters took to Twitter to slam the manager's tactics after the full-time whistle:
Declan Rice claims Gareth Southgate's England 'are going to be good'
Since reaching the European Championship final last summer, England have been on an alarming decline. They put on yet another dismal against the Italians and Southgate appeared to be booed by his own set of traveling supporters.
But midfielder Declan Rice has defended his teammates and believes they will create more chances in the near future. The West Ham United captain told Channel 4 (as per BBC Sport):
"It's obviously disappointing. Every tournament we go into, we set out to win. In the Nations League we have slipped below our standards but I didn't think it was all bad tonight.
"It's coming. It was a much better performance tonight than we saw in the summer."
"It's not that we're not creating the chances. I see it in training. There are goals for fun. Trust me, we are going to be good."
Rice's teammates face Germany on Monday (September 26) at Wembley Stadium in their final game before the FIFA World Cup begins in November. They have been drawn in Group B alongside Iran, USA and Wales and are aiming to claim their first major trophy in 56 years.
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