Southgate urges England not to be ‘football snobs’ following Pickford/Stones disagreement

Gareth Southgate has urged England not to be ‘football snobs’ following a disagreement between Jordan Pickford and John Stones over playing from the back.

England opened their Euro 2020 campaign with a 1-0 win over Croatia on Sunday, Raheem Sterling scoring the only goal of the game to secure a narrow victory over the World Cup finalists.


Southgate has discussed his side’s style of football and admits it is important the Three Lions contain variety in their play as they bid to make an impact this summer, insisting he has no problem with a more direct approach if the opportunity arises.

“We shouldn’t be football snobs. It’s great to play out from the back and get to the halfway line in control of the ball,” Southgate told a press conference.

“However, it’s just as effective to go straight to the centre forward, be in control of the ball and be able to play from there.

“The variety is important against top opposition.”

The win over Croatia saw goalkeeper Pickford often look to launch England forward and quickly with long passes, with the Everton star’s long kicking leading to an on-field disagreement with Manchester City defender Stones.

Southgate played down the dispute and says England’s approach will differ dependent on opposition, adding he has trust in his players to make the right decisions when it comes to getting the side on the front foot.

“I think they were just deciding.

“It depends on how the opposition press and there were times where it was on (to go long).

“We don’t have as long to work on those patterns when you are playing from goal-kicks as you do at a club.

“Those guys are able to make those decisions. There was a little spell where we went long and we talked about that at half-time. We didn’t want to do it every time.”

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