Gary Neville insists Declan Rice is almost as unbeatable as Harry Kane and Harry Maguire have to play ahead of the Euro 2020 knockout stage.
Sky Sports expert and former England defender believes Gareth Southgate will remain with two central midfielders in defensive mind for the remainder of the tournament after Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice impressed in the 1-0 win over Croatia , and says Rice is almost as unbeatable as Harry Kane.
Neville also said Harry Maguire, who has had an ankle injury since early May, needs to get substantial minutes before the group stages are over and cannot be thrown in a knockout game.
England play their second Group D game on Friday at Wembley against Scotland; kick off at 8 p.m.
“The double pivot will not change; Rice almost unrecoverable ‘
“I think what we’ve seen against Croatia is Southgate’s reaction to what we all thought ahead of the tournament; that their weakness is defense, and they’ll have to keep their clean sheet if they want to. win this tournament.
“That double pivot, or the two midfielders ahead of the last four, is not going to change, you can be absolutely sure of that.
“The big question is whether Kieran Trippier will stay left-back; there’s no doubt Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell will be better offensive, but that’s if Southgate thinks Trippier is giving defense that advantage by aiming the own sheet, which is so important.
“When you get to a tournament you can talk about scoring as many goals as you want, but you know you’re going to face Portugal, France, Germany or Spain at some point in that tournament, and you are going to have to defend well.
“My feeling after the game against Croatia was that Shaw or Chilwell could come in, but that midfielder won’t change. Jordan Henderson is not at the same level of fitness as Phillips and Rice. I think Harry Kane is inescapable in this England team, but I would put Declan Rice pretty much up there for now, he’s going to play every game.
“I think Kalvin Phillips now, with the way he played against Croatia, is going to play alongside him. I don’t see Southgate changing that. They have a good partnership, a good rotation in midfield, they are doing well. together, and they’re definitely more advanced in their physical form than Jordan Henderson right now. “
“Maguire must play before the knockouts”
Neville says Maguire, who has had an ankle injury since early May, needs substantial minutes before the group stages are over and cannot be thrown in a knockout game.
Maguire has declared himself fit and available for the highly anticipated European Championship clash between England and Scotland on Friday night.
“I think Tyrone Mings did really well – it was an important game for him. Looking at John Stones and Mings as a partnership before the tournament, you would have concerns against the top teams.
“I know people fired Croatia after the match, but few fired them before the match, so I would still say it’s a very good win for England against a good team.
“I think the reason Kieran Trippier played left-back was his experience and skill, which meant Mings had experience apart from him.
“If Harry Maguire can get back to a level, he’ll come back. But if he comes back, I think if it’s not against Scotland, it must be against the Czech Republic. You couldn’t bring back the first game. of Harry Maguire a knockout match.
“Maguire has to surface in the next two matches or else I’m afraid you won’t see him in the tournament, and it would be Stones and Mings to continue.”
How is Scotland winning?
“They have to be tight defensively and play deeper. I don’t think they can go two-way, go for England and put the ball into the box. I have very rarely seen Wembley sides maintain a performance. physical for 90 minutes, or 45 minutes, actually, it’s a very demanding stage to play.
“I think the idea that Scotland can bomb England with set pieces isn’t something that will come to fruition. They just have to defend well, that’s the bottom line. They can’t concede. like they did against the Czechs; they have to keep a clean sheet and hope for a moment in the game.
“Scotland will be awkward for England on Friday. I have never played in a home game where they weren’t awkward or difficult. They are really well organized and c ‘is the biggest game for Scotland. “
How does England win?
“They just have to go get that first goal, so Scotland comes out and England can knock them out.
“We saw it with Portugal against Hungary, as soon as they scored that first goal they went on to score two more afterwards. That’s what good teams do against tough and tough defenses.
“The game gets a little easier if you score that first goal.”
“Southgate’s plan will not have changed”
“I don’t think players will get carried away with emotion, and I don’t think Gareth will. Gareth doesn’t tend to be too high when they win a match, or too low when they lose a match. He has seen a lot of international football, has seen a lot of football tournaments and understands what can happen.
“I think his game plan for Friday will have been defined even before Croatia, and I don’t think that will change. He is really methodical and knows how he is going to approach each game. It will be defined.
“It will be more interesting to see how Steve Clarke reacts to their loss in Match 1, there may be an emotional reaction that they have to be more offensive and proactive. But it would suit England, if Scotland came out and attacking, they could then play their football a little more. It is important for both managers to take the emotion out of this game and stick to their game plans.
“I’m sure Southgate will, that’s if Steve Clarke reacts to the fact that they had a disappointing first result against the Czech Republic.”
“Adam was attacking a wall! »The Boys of 96: England play on Seaman’s save, Gazza’s goal and this celebration against Scotland
Marc McAdam put the boys back together. The reporter reunited with England’s Euro 96 stars – and, ahead of England v Scotland at Euro 2020, they tell us the inside story of the famous clash between the two teams at Wembley 25 years ago .
Gary Neville, Jamie Redknapp, Gareth Southgate, Teddy Sheringham, Paul Ince and Stuart pearce unveil what it was like in the English dressing room ahead of this dramatic game, the main turning points of the competition and how the victory ultimately propelled England to the semi-finals.
For more behind-the-scenes stories of England’s Euro 96 adventures, you can watch Boys of 96 on Sky Sports News and the Sky Sports YouTube Channel.