‘Reading between the lines Jadon Sancho has failed to impress Gareth Southgate with England’

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Reading between the lines I don’t think Jadon Sancho has impressed Gareth Southgate in training.

I’ve heard and seen a lot of people calling for him after the Scotland match and that’s understandable.

But I really don’t think that many of the people championing him have watched him play for Dortmund in the German league this season.

They are just going off his numbers which look good on paper. That’s not a criticism as such, it’s just an observation.

There is a big difference between the statistics and the evidence of your own eyes.

Gareth has had the privilege of watching each player train over the past three weeks going back to the beginning of June. He is in a far better position than you or me to judge who deserves to be in the team, who should be on the bench and who should be in the stands.

Andros Townsend has discussed Jadon Sancho and Jack Grealish
(Image: Alan Cozzi)

I also know as a player that there have been so many times when a new signing hasn’t played for a prolonged period of time or a fans’ favourite is out of the side when people on the outside believe he shouldn’t be.

You get the supporters screaming for him and calling the manager clueless for not playing him. They are hitting the phone-ins, social media and the message boards, having a go.

But having seen him train every day I can see for myself that he should be nowhere near the starting XI.

So it tells me either Jadon hasn’t been training well or the other wingers have been training slightly better.

A manager won’t want to throw his player under the bus so he will be discreet about the reasons why. But Gareth will want Jadon to show him more if he is to make an appearance at these Euros.

Southgate must be ready to turn to Grealish

Assuming we confirm our last-16 place, I believe Gareth Southgate will be looking to start Jack Grealish.

Tomorrow night’s game against the Czech Republic is the perfect chance for us to find ways to get Harry Kane into the game. Jack (right) is one of them.

We may have picked up four points from our two games so far – I’m not too despondent about the Scotland draw – but we’ve only scored one goal. With one of the world’s best strikers in our ranks, we have to put that right.

Townsend isn't convinced Gareth Southgate has seen enough from Jadon Sancho in training
(Image: Action Images via Reuters)

Jack can play in one of two roles, off the left or in the No.10 position. Against the Czechs, I’d stick him on the left, with a free role to roam, and get as close as possible to Harry.

I’d have Marcus Rashford off the right, even though he hasn’t always been that comfortable there, ­because of his ability to get in ­behind. Harry needs the kind of link-up that he has with Heung-Min Son at Spurs.

One or two of the players being rotated won’t be too happy. I’d ­certainly be cheesed off. Raheem Sterling, for example, scored in the first game and played very well. But these are the decisions that big managers have to make.

Gareth has shown ­already he is not afraid to make the big ­decisions or choices the public won’t agree with.

And, for all our efforts, we haven’t managed to get Harry into the game so far.

So, if anyone has any complaints, it will be an easy conversation for ­Gareth to have. Far easier than it would have been going into the Scotland game.

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On top of that, we are not talking about a Phil Foden being replaced by an average player. We are talking about top-class performers coming into the side to freshen things up.

If Harry Maguire is fit, for ­example, I would bring him back in, to get him up to speed. John Stones and Tyrone Mings have done well, and have had two clean sheets, but Gareth will need Harry ready to rumble going into the last 16.

As for the knockout stages, I know some of the other countries are fascinated by the concern here around who we might face in the second round, if we top the group.

It would be one of France, ­Germany or Portugal from Group F.

But I don’t think it’s a case of fear about who we play. It’s more a shame that, if you win the group, you come up against one of the best in world football so quickly.

We obviously do have the ­quality to beat them. Our players have won Champions Leagues with their clubs and beaten the best along the way to do that.

So, I wouldn’t be making 11 changes against the Czech Republic, and hoping to finish second.

Finishing top of our group will mean we stay at Wembley in the knock-out stages. That will be a big advantage. You have your home ­comforts, you’re not staying in lesser quality hotels. You are in familiar ­surroundings.

I was at the first game against ­Croatia and 22,000 fans sounded like 90,000.

All we need now is for Gareth Southgate to find the formula to help Harry Kane to be Harry Kane. ­Tomorrow night’s game provides the England manager with the perfect opportunity.

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