‘Why disrupt it?’ Southgate on lack of substitutions before Poland equaliser

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England boss Gareth Southgate
This was England’s first draw in qualifying after five successive wins

England boss Gareth Southgate said he did not make any substitutions before Poland’s late equaliser in their World Cup qualifier because he felt confident his side were in control of the game.

It ended England’s 100% record in Group I, although they remain firmly on course to qualify for Qatar 2022.

“We were playing well, we were in control,” said Southgate.

“At those moments, it’s not easy to come on as a substitute and we would be taking people off for the sake of it, frankly.

“We were in total control, there was no issue, why disrupt it when you’re in control?”

Southgate, who drew criticism on occasion for his use of substitutions during England’s run to the Euro 2020 final,external-link said he was planning to make a change in the final few minutes but admitted the equaliser changed his plans.

He said: “We wanted to make substitutions towards the end, but when the goal went in we thought there was no point because we would be adding time on.”

There’s been a report put in – Southgate on incident before half-time

England's Harry Maguire and Poland's Kamil Glik were booked before half time
England’s Harry Maguire and Poland’s Kamil Glik were booked before half time

In a feisty encounter, there was a moment at the end of the first half where Poland’s Kamil Glik appeared to pinch Kyle Walker’s neck.

Both sets of players clashed at half time, with England’s Harry Maguire being booked as well as Glik.

England have reported the incident to the refereeing team and match delegates.

“We’re getting to grips with what that was,” Southgate told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“There’s been a report put in and we need to find out a little bit more about what’s happened. At the moment we’re still gathering all the evidence so there’s no point in me speculating any further.”

Kane also confirmed the incident before half time had been reported.

“They’re taking care of it and investigating it and we’ll go from there,” he said.

“Allegedly it was something that was done, not said.”

‘A bit of tiredness led to the goal’ – analysis

Former England defender Terry Butcher on BBC Radio 5 live:

“Gareth Southgate had two substitutes out, Bukayo Saka was one, but he didn’t put them on.

“In the end, a bit of tiredness from the defenders led to a goal from Poland. England possibly deserved to win the game, but you have to praise Poland’s spirit.

“The manager, too, with Poland’s substitutions, they put on five, we put on none.”

‘Absurd’ lack of substitutions – what you said

Russell: Deepest squad in world football and not a single substitution. Just absurd. Walker has got to be about the fittest defender I’ve ever watched and he was out on his feet before that goal. If Southgate is going to expect so much forward play from his full-backs he needs to rotate them within games, not just between games.

Joe Baker: Lack of substitutes again showed Southgate’s inability to think on his feet during games. It doesn’t matter tonight, but as shown by the Euro2020 final when he reacted too late tactically, in big games it will cost us.

Trevor Priestman: Gareth will be criticised for not making substitutions, but four points from Hungary & Poland away is a job well done. Both hostile atmospheres in which a young team could crumble but they didn’t. Celebrate the positives, work on the minor faults, go again in Oct.

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