Saturday, July 20, 2024

Euro 2024 – England vs Switzerland: Gary Neville believes Three Lions will lose quarter-final if they do not improve -Dlight News

Gary Neville believes England will be beaten by Switzerland in Saturday’s Euro 2024 quarter-final if Gareth Southgate’s side continue to play at their current level – with the Sky Sports pundit asking the Three Lions manager to “take more risks” in his selection.

England were 86 seconds away from a shock 1-0 elimination to Slovakia in the last 16 before Jude Bellingham’s sublime overhead kick forced extra-time, where Harry Kane scored the winning goal.

Next up for England is the challenge of Switzerland, who beat holders Italy in their last-16 clash on Saturday, and Neville believes Southgate’s side will not be so lucky this weekend if they do not improve.

“Four times this England team have played in this tournament where they’ve been below par,” he told Sky Sports News. “They will hope that this is the catalyst for what would be improved performance levels and a change of direction in performance.

“Winning is everything in tournaments, but performances matter because eventually there’s only so far you can go being the inferior team. Not playing as well and winning will eventually catch you out and I think it will catch England out on Saturday if they keep playing at the same level.

“Let’s be really clear. Three weeks ago, if you had handed this England squad, Gareth Southgate, the players, and us as fans, Switzerland in the quarter-finals, we would have bitten your hand off.

“But Switzerland are playing well, they’re a decent team. They are not to be disrespected and they won’t be by the players, but if we don’t raise the performance levels, we’re going out on Saturday.

“We were fortunate to get past Slovakia and rode our luck in the group where if Denmark scored one more goal, we would have played Germany. So we’ve rode our luck twice now, it could be written in the stars that we ride our luck all the way to the final, but my head is telling me we will hit a major obstacle if we carry on and we need to take risks to free ourselves up.

“We looked like England teams of the past where they looked frightened to death, like in the first half yesterday.”

Who would Neville start against Switzerland?

The “risks” Neville spoke about relate to Southgate’s team selection. In all four Euro 2024 matches so far, the England manager has picked the same 10 players, only rotating between Trent Alexander-Arnold, Conor Gallagher and Kobbie Mainoo for the central midfield spot.

Neville wants to see Alexander-Arnold start at right-back, with Kyle Walker moved over to left-back – plus see Cole Palmer and Anthony Gordon start in attack over Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden – but the former Manchester United and England defender believes widespread changes are unlikely.

Cole Palmer is closed down by Tomas Suslov
Cole Palmer impressed off the bench against Slovakia on Sunday

“We thought there would be more changes and greater interference, but Gareth’s not going to do that now,” Neville claimed. “I think it does need some type of change, but Gareth – in the first four games – has made as limited changes as he could possibly do.

“He will be forced into one with [Marc] Guehi being suspended but apart from that, he will go in with the players as he sees it and try and almost play them into form through consistency, and the fact they’re working together more and there’s resilience building in them.

“But it just feels like there is a different dynamic. You talk about imbalance, that imbalance will remain if we continue to pick the same players. There is a rebalance and reset needed, but I’m not sure we’re going to get it.”

Will Shaw be risked by England this weekend?

Luke Shaw, England training
Luke Shaw (middle) has not played any football since the middle of February

One risk Southgate could take is starting Luke Shaw at left-back. The defender has been out with a hamstring injury and has not played since the middle of February – but Shaw did make the bench for the slender win over Slovakia.

“He was available to be used off the bench yesterday, he could have five days of training to put into his legs and his body before Saturday,” Neville said.

“It’s a big risk. A fit Luke Shaw is a big asset, and the reason why maybe the left-hand side is not working as it should be is the same reason why it wasn’t working at Manchester United due to Diogo Dalot, Aaron Wan-Bissaka or Victor Lindelof playing there.

“Marcus Rashford and Alejandro Garnacho struggled because Shaw wasn’t there linking with them and supporting them. It’s really important and England haven’t had that and suffered with it. Phil Foden has suffered with it. Shaw can overlap and underlap, but we haven’t got it.

“Is it too big a risk playing Shaw on Saturday? My gut feeling is yes. But also my absolute unequivocal position is England need to take risks, to do something and change something. If Southgate feels he can get a performance out of Shaw on Saturday, he will put him in, but it’s a massive risk.”

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