England already practising penalties ahead of World Cup as Gareth Southgate pinpoints lack of regular takers – TrendyNewsReporters

England already practising penalties ahead of World Cup as Gareth Southgate pinpoints lack of regular takers

England’s players are already practicing penalties ahead of the prospect of a World Cup shootout after manager Gareth Southgate identified it as one of the “areas we think we can improve upon to become world champions”.

England agonizingly missed out on a first major tournament trophy in 55 years after losing in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley to Italy on penalties.

Harry Kane and Maguire scored for England in the shootout but Marcus Rashford struck the post, while Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka saw efforts saved by Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Southgate’s deep post-European Championship analysis has identified key areas the England manager, his coaches, team staff, and the players need to work on if they want to stand a chance of lifting the World Cup in Qatar at the end of the year.

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After two near-misses — reaching the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and finishing runner-up at Euro 2020 — England will be one of the favorites going into the tournament.

It has become clear to Southgate that his squad is deficient in players who regularly take penalties for their club, and he hopes that extra work can prevent this from becoming an issue during the knockout stages of the World Cup.

“We have gone into various details with the players of areas we think we can improve upon to become world champions,” Southgate said, ahead of a friendly against Ivory Coast on Tuesday night.

“We didn’t have a chance to do that in such detail in the autumn as we had to get straight onto the focus of qualifying so we felt this camp was a good time to start that.

“Penalties has been part of that. What is apparent in terms of regular penalty takers for their club, we really only have Harry Kane [at Tottenham] and James Ward-Prowse [at Southampton]. Rashford would have been in terms of volume of penalties the second highest in number but Bruno Fernandes is Manchester United’s normal penalty taker and when we played Italy, their top five had taken more than 40 penalties in competitive matches.

“Kane is at that level and Marcus is next at 20. So we will have to view that different than just accepting they are going to get practice at their clubs and they will be able to come in and that is the challenge we have set with some individual work.

“We think that is the right thing to do and yes, it feels maybe they would think it is a bit early to do that but essentially if you take match days out and the day after a match, you are probably talking about 20 training days [with England] between now and that situation happening in a knockout stage.”

Southgate, meanwhile, insists that England will not hand out national team caps to young dual-nationality players merely to tie them down to playing for the country. Southgate said recently he hopes that 20-year-old Crystal Palace attacking midfielder Michael Olise would want to play for England.

Olise, who was born in England but can play for France through his French-Algerian mother and Nigeria through his father, is currently with France’s Under 21s.

A player is not committed to a country until they play in a competitive senior game for them. Soon after becoming England manager, Southgate tried to persuade Wilfried Zaha to represent England before the winger opted for Tuesday’s opponents Ivory Coast.

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“There is perhaps an age where if you have not received that recognition you might start to think I can have an international career somewhere else and now is the time I want to take that call,” Southgate added.

“It is going to be more and more complicated. A lot of our really young juniors now can play for three or four different countries and we want to make sure we are not arrogant in just assuming they will want to play for England. But equally, I don’t think we should fast-track people and give them caps just to tie them down. I don’t think ethically that would be the right thing to do.”


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