England started their Euro campaign with a solid 1-0 win over Croatia with Raheem Sterling finding the back of the net. While England were solid in defence and even their midfield fared out pretty well against the likes of Luka Modric, Matteo Kovacic and others, there were questions over Jadon Sancho and Ben Chilwell’s absence from the matchday squad.
The winger and the recent Champions League winning right back were not even on the bench for the Three Lions. Instead, Southgate fielded right-back Kieran Tripper on the left-back while Phil Foden partnered Sterling on the flanks. When questioned regarding the omissions the England tactician said that they needed to cover other position and hence the duo had to miss out.
It is confirmed that both the players were not out due to injury or niggles. It was simply Southgate’s tactical mind to keep them out of the matchday squad. He simply said that he needed reinforcement for other positions.
“With the two boys that are out of the squad, it’s just unfortunate we can only name 23 and we’ve had to cover certain positions,” Southgate told BBC Sport.
“I don’t like the fact we’re having to leave players out of the squad in a major tournament.”
Southgate explained the decision to put Trippier on the left hand side despite him being a right back. It caused a lot of confusion as the England manager had options like Chilwell and Luke Shaw who are naturally left backs. However, Southgate felt that the Atletico Madrid full back is good in duels and can stop the crosses from flowing in the penalty area.
“With Kieran (Trippier) we feel he’s a very experienced player and a good one-on-one defender to stop crosses coming in,” he said.
“His communication and leadership will be a help and his experience will help us.”
England now are in a prime position to lead the group having beaten the toughest competitors in their group in Croatia. They will now face fierce rivals Scotland next in one of the oldest International derbies. Looking at this English side and especially the depth that they have at their disposal it will be difficult for the Scots, making the Three Lions the favourites to top Group D.