“Expectation isn’t really there” – Collymore not too impressed by England

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There are just three days to go before England open their Euro 2024 account against Serbia.

To this point, Gareth Southgate’s men haven’t been all that impressive in the warm up games, though it is worth pointing out that the 2023/24 domestic season had barely finished before players were being asked to go full throttle into international commitments.

After a gruelling campaign, getting some much needed down time might have been preferable, however, that was never going to be on the cards for those players considered good enough for the Three Lions.

England are one of the pre-tournament favourites, and with good reason.

If they can play at somewhere approaching their maximum as the tournament continues, then the likes of Phil Foden Bukayo Saka, Jude Bellingham and Anthony Gordon can be game winners for Southgate.

They’ll need to get their fingers out, mind.

Collymore says England need to up their game

“England’s poor performance against Iceland could be a perfect storm in terms of a tournament where the best teams always start slow and then move through the gears,” Collymore said to CaughtOffside for his exclusive column.

“I watched Holland beat Iceland comfortably 3-0, they absolutely battered them by putting a lot of crosses in the box, but in terms of England at the moment, there are several players – John Stones and Kyle Walker to name just two – that obviously need minutes in their legs and aren’t going to get them until they go into games.

“Jude Bellingham would have had a week or two off after the Champions League final to have a bit of a party… Unfortunately, we don’t have six friendlies to play to give them and others the time they need.

England manager Gareth Southgate needs to make sure his side hit the ground running at Euro 2024.

“[…] I don’t get involved in bookies odds and stuff quite simply because we’re in Britain and more people are going to vote for their own country than they are for others, but I do think there’s a very nice healthy dose of scepticism around the country which the Iceland result has only added to.

“The weather is a bit flat still, we haven’t started the tournament yet… the expectation isn’t really there because people haven’t got used to the three games in a day which football fans love and which sets the tone.

“I watched Portugal against Ireland and they look very, very good. I watched the Dutch, they look good. I watched the French, they look good. If we get to the semi-finals, we’ve got to be at our very, very best to win it.

“At the moment, for me, it boils down to a few things. Several players are undercooked, one or two players are visibly ageing in front of our eyes, and we’ve had a mini experiment about who’s going to play number 10.

“I fully expect by the end of the Denmark game on match day two, that we will be in a really good position to know whether this England team are struggling or whether we are slowly going through the gears on a march towards the latter stages and victory in the final.”

Notoriously slow starters in most major tournaments, there’s a real sense that with the calibre of player that England have at their disposal at Euro 2024, and given how close they came in the last edition of the tournament, they could finally land their first major title since 1966 and put to bed all of the nonsense from the last 58 years.

More Stories Bukayo Saka Gareth Southgate Jude Bellingham Phil Foden Stan Collymore