Gareth Southgate insists he has NO DOUBTS about selecting Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka as penalty-takers despite their misses in the Euro 2020 final… as the England boss confirms he WILL make late substitutions to prepare for spot kicks
Gareth Southgate says he has no doubts about picking Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka among his first five penalty-takers against Senegal if Sunday’s match goes to shootout.
Saka and Rashford both missed against Italy in last summer’s Euro 2020 final and were subjected to racist abuse by some England fans, but they will be take a spot-kick again if they are on the pitch.
Asked whether he had any doubts about them stepping up, England boss Southgate said: ‘None at all. Marcus’s stats would be among the best in the world on penalty-taking. And Bukayo is taking them more regularly with his club. They’re both in a good space with that.’
Gareth Southgate says he has no doubts about picking Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka among his first five penalty-takers against Senegal if Sunday’s match goes to a shootout
England were beaten on penalties in the Euro 2020 final against Italy last year at Wembley
Bukayo Saka was one of three England players to miss in the heartbreaking shootout defeat
England broke their penalty curse by beating Colombia 4-3 on penalties at this stage in 2018, then Switzerland in the 2019 Nations League third-place play-off.
And Southgate will again make late substitutions in extra time to get his best penalty takers on the pitch, even though he was criticised for doing so at the Euro 2020 final. On that occasion, he brought on Rashford and Jadon Sancho in the last minute of extra time, meaning they had to take a penalty having barely touched the ball. Both missed.
Southgate said: ‘In terms of the changes, Marcus came on as a sub in Moscow [against Colombia 2018] and took a penalty [and scored] four or five minutes earlier than we put him on at Wembley. I’ve seen lots of teams do that. If you score, it’s the right thing; if you don’t, then it’s the wrong thing.
‘We’ve got to stick with our processes, give ourselves the best percentages of winning and we feel we are very well prepared. We’ve won two, we’ve lost the last one. We’ve refined some of those things we didn’t think were quite right. We feel that the process is good.’
Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford also missed penalties in England’s Euro 2020 final defeat
England celebrated their first World Cup penalty shootout success against Colombia in 2018
Eric Dier, meanwhile, is ready to step up and reprise his role of heroic penalty-taker.
Dier hit the winning strike against Colombia to take England through to the quarter-finals and slay a raft of ghosts.
It was England’s first shootout win since 1996, having lost five in successive major tournaments since then and It was the first win in a knockout game since 2006. Dier said: ‘It’s difficult for me to say because I was involved, but I felt in that game we broke down a lot of mental barriers and stereotypes that existed in English football surrounding knockout games and shootouts and playing against that type of opposition. People would always say English teams don’t know how to handle that.
England manager Gareth Southgate believes England are prepared for penalties if required
Eric Dier also insisted he would be up for taking a penalty after he scored the winning spot kick in England’s memorable Round of 16 victory over Colombia in Russia four years ago
‘It felt like that game was a weight off our shoulders and you saw that in the next game against Sweden [which they won 2-0]. The Colombia game was a moment in which we all felt like we had got over a few hurdles and now we were free to just play.
‘And some of the weight of history had been removed from our backs. It was the first World Cup for a lot of us. The first major tournament for the manager.
‘But you’re not thinking about that in the penalty shootout. It was something that had been spoken about in the lead-up to the tournament and, if you compare it to this time around, it’s very different. We have the security that we have been here before and got past these things.’
Meanwhile, Arsenal defender Ben White will not travel with the club to Dubai today following his withdrawal from the England squad. White flew home from the World Cup campaign last week over a personal matter. The Premier League leaders are taking part in the Dubai Super Cup, with games against Lyon on Thursday and AC Milan on December 13.