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England legend demanded Gareth Southgate make controversial substitution 29 minutes into Serbia game

England legend demanded Gareth Southgate make controversial substitution 29 minutes into Serbia game

An England legend called for Gareth Southgate to make an extremely early substitution against Serbia.

England legend Stuart Pearce called for Gareth Southgate to make a substitution just 29 minutes into the Euro 2024 opening win over Serbia.

The Three Lions got off to a winning start and became the first side to keep a clean sheet in the tournament, with Jude Bellingham scoring the only goal of the game in the 13th minute.

England dominated in the first half without creating too many chances, but had to stand up to Serbia's pressure in the second half to claim a vital victory.

England only managed five shots in the game, including just three on target.

There was a noticeable lack of creativity on the whole, evidenced in the fact that talisman and captain Harry Kane only had 24 touches and one clear chance which hit the bar in the 77th minute.

And early on Pearce, capped 78 times by his country, proposed a substitution to change that.

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

He advocated for Eberechi Eze to come on down the left flank, feeling as though Phil Foden was ineffective and a "utility player".

Speaking on talkSPORT, as per Metro, Pearce said: "We talked about early substitutions leading into the game, I tell you what I’d do, I’d bring Eberechi Eze on now to attack instead of Foden.

"You ask for my opinion and I’ll give you my solution after 29 minutes! What I’m seeing at the moment is an England team who are attacking solely down the right-hand side.

"There’s no attack down the left-hand side whatsoever – Kieran Trippier is obviously being a right-footed left-back and isn’t offering anything in the advanced areas.

‘"Foden is cutting in and being like a utility player almost.

"I’d like to see us having a joint attack on either side and the way that Serbia have set up is like they’re lying down and saying 'please don’t hurt us too much'.

"We’ve only got Bukayo Saka who has the ability to go and attack someone as an out-and-out winger – I’d like to see another one on this side."

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

Premier League Player of the Season Foden came in for criticism for his display but Southgate praised the Manchester City midfielder in his post-match press conference.

He said: "Phil popped up really well in the spaces. I though the did an excellent job in the second half when we were struggling to keep hold of it [the ball] - his technical ability to hold the ball in a few of those moments was really helpful."

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Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: England, Euro 2024, Gareth Southgate, Phil Foden