Gareth Southgate has led this England team past the group stage in yet another tournament, which, to be fair, was the minimum expectation. After the performance against USA, critics began circling the England manager, citing his lack of tactical flexibility, especially in the final third as a reason for the insipid display.
Qatar 2022: England boss Gareth Southgate deserves credit for tactical masterclass
The introduction of Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden allowed the Three Lions to get to new exciting levels.
Southgate made changes to the England side against the United States by introducing Manchester City forward Phil Foden from the start. He also handed starts to Marcus Rashford, Kyle Walker and Jordan Henderson. The maligned Mason Mount had to settle for a place on the bench. Southgate pushed Jude Bellingham into a more advanced position to link with the front three.
England started the game looking to gain control, passing the ball around but having a hard time finding spaces to play into but the players Southgate introduced into the team broke the game open.
The impact of Rashford and Foden
Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden performed exceptionally well, especially after switching flanks. Foden on the left wing, has to be the way forward for England now.
Southgate has no other player who plays with the same grace and elegance as Foden. His ability to play in tight spaces is key to his overall approach. Another benefit he brings to the England team is his tactical knowledge, which was honed by years of training under Pep Guardiola.