Former England manager Glenn Hoddle is confident Harry Kane will come good for the Three Lions this summer – and he believes Jack Grealish could be key to making it happen.
England are already guaranteed a place in the last 16 at Euro 2020 after results went their way elsewhere, but confidence in the national team is hardly sky high after a disappointing 0-0 draw against Scotland on Friday.
But Hoddle knows it will only take one good performance to change the mood.
“It was very ordinary from England,” Hoddle told Betfair. “The Scotland game was quite open in the second half and I was a bit mystified how we didn’t create more. Scotland defended well and it might be a bit of a reality check.
“(But) no one remembers the group stages when you get to the quarters and semi-finals.
“We still look vulnerable to the top teams defensively, but playing them might be our strength as well. They’ll open up and attack us and this England team might cause people problems with time and space to use the ball.”
Harry Kane will be key
One of the major talking points from the England camp so far has been the form of Harry Kane, with the striker still yet to score.
But Hoddle is keeping the faith in England’s captain: “He’s the sort of player who, if it’s a quarter-final or a big game, he’ll produce something for England, I’m convinced of that.
“I don’t think it’s anything to do with what’s happening at club level. He’s a professional and he’s got the mentality to shrug that off.
“Sometimes players feel fatigued and a bit tired and I think he’s going through one of those situations. It’s not all doom and gloom.”
Creativity will come with minor tweaks
Having only scored one goal in the two opening matches, England are in need of a spark in the final third and Hoddle thinks that could come from Grealish.
“If Grealish is playing, I would be saying to Phillips and Rice, ‘feed him, get the ball to him’. He either beats a player or drags two or three players over, or he gets brought down and you get free kicks.
“Just make him have the ball. He came on against Scotland and he was just out on the left side and didn’t get on the ball. You want him having more touches than anyone in the last 20 minutes.”
Hoddle also thinks that the game against the Czech Republic is a good chance to try something different: “We’ve got to look at a different style of play for the Czech Republic game, forget the other games. We’re not playing Germany or Portugal or France yet. You have to look at who you’re playing against.
“I haven’t got a problem with Phillips and Rice playing together. Phillips can hurt teams with his passing and in the first game he was let off the leash. I wouldn’t necessarily discard them, but against a better team Southgate could change it.”
Hoddle is expecting a similar game to the first two against the Czech Republic, however, and says England will once again have to be patient.
“They’ll be confident, they’re a hard side to beat. They’ve got some good, hard-working players and we’ll have to be patient.
“We could do with an early goal to settle us down, but I think they’re going to be quite stubborn. I’m going for a 1-0 victory.”
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