Bulgaria vs England
European Qualifiers Group A
7:45pm Monday 14th October
Vasil Levski National Stadium
Englands defeat to the Czech Republic vulnerable fundamental flaws, leaving Gareth Southgate having a lot to ponder as he attempts an answer against Bulgaria.
Fridays defeat following a wretched operation has made them wait although should Kosovo neglect to win against themselves england will be eligible for Euro 2020 with victory in Sofia on Monday. The chastening evening at Prague served, by Southgates entrance, as a fact check before next summers finals.
Theres a whole lot of work to be done in order to be a top group, the England boss conceded in his post-match media conference – but have his team actually gone backward?
This was the sentiment of this Sunday Supplement panel since they dissected Englands anaemic screen.
Hope was built up with this World Cup semi-final appearance… but now it feels like England have lost their leadership, said Shaun Custis, Head of Sport in sunlight.
Does Custis could it be a complete overreaction or possess a point?
That question wont be answered until after Euro 2020 result in Sofia and however Southgate can help get the disbelievers back in his corner with a screen.
Bulgaria are rock-bottom of Group A after a winless run which makes Hristo Stoichkovs times and Dimitar Berbatov feel as memories. Harry Kane scored a hat-trick in the corresponding fixture in Wembley since England maintained their perfect start to Euro 2020 eligibility with a 4-0 victory.
Bulgaria will provide a sterner test back on home ground – a view backed up from Berbatov – however therell be plenty of eyes on the performance grade of the Three Lions. Anything but a successful win will be scrutinised.
Therell be at least one as Danny Rose is suspended that will see Ben Chilwell yield to the side of the England defence, imposed change in Englands starting XI – however, a comprehensive reshuffle from the back-line could be on the cards.
Southgate has confessed he will look at reverting in the back to bolster a defence that has conceded five goals in just two matches to three. It is not the goals conceded column which is going to be stressing Southgate, it is the amount of shots theyre allowing the opposition. Playing with two-centre backs does permit an extra body to encourage in whats a system Harry Kane, but its exposing England the other way.
Spain managed 24 shots in Englands 3-2 triumph October, Netherlands peppered Pickfords goal with 29 attempts in the Nations League semi-final, along with 17 was handled by Czech Republic on Friday night.
The comfort of having a would be that the guy Southgate would like to build his own shape and additionally appears to suit Harry Maguire, who flourished in that system at the World Cup. Allowing him more protection at a time when optimism is low might just give England far more hands in possession of they did Friday night. Maguire was the trigger point for many of the attacks of England in the World Cup, striding forwards out of the back three. A switch may do him a world of good.
Michael Keane can make way after a shaky performance in a row for England on Friday, together with Tyrone Mings set to an England debut, according to Sky Sports News. Joe Gomez also is an option at the heart of the defence, since is Fikayo Tomori, that has shown excellent early season form to Chelsea.
A reshuffle is by Southgate under consideration.
Questioned on his own formation after defeat in Prague, he explained:I believe were in a challenging situation concerning the players that have played international football with us at that region of the pitch [defence] and whore playing frequently with their clubs. So, that is part of the reason we did not do that [switch to some back line against the Czechs]. It is definitely and that I dont think we can dismiss.
I am not convinced, before Monday, if that is the ideal thing to do but were very conscious and assessing those items
Their progress was hindered by the battles in midfield of england in key points and estimating by the functionality of Friday, its an area where Southgate has to find a solution.
Mason Mount replaced Ross Barkley at the starting line-up in Prague but instead of slotting in just before Jordan Henderson and Declan Rice at a three, the debutant was pushed forwards into a a lot more advanced role. It unbalanced England tremendously with a midfield two of Henderson and Rice – both not famous for their departure that was forward – fighting against the press out of Czech Republic.
The pair have been disconnected from attacking units both sides of these and the defensive and didnt provide their centre-backs passing options to play forwards.
If Harry Winks be given a opportunity in Bulgaria? Can Southgate stick with Mount, but at a character? Or did Ross Barkley do enough with all his cameo off the bench to get back into the XI?
Pickford; Trippier, Mings Chilwell; Barkley, Winks Sancho, Kane, Sterling.
After Bulgarian lovers were found guilty of racist conduct in their games from Kosovo along with Czech Republic in 31, the game in Sofia is going to be played in a stadium that is closed. The community, set up to counter discrimination in football, will have spotters from the crowd.
This week, Chelseas Tammy Abraham – who was the victim of abuse on interpersonal media earlier this season – indicated Englands players walk off the pitch for a team if they are exposed to racist abuse and can defy the racism protocols of UEFA.
Despite the sanctions imposed in his country for racially aggravated offences, Bulgaria boss Krasimir Balakov controversially contended English football has a bigger racism problem.
What I can say is I really dont think weve got a issue, he explained.
In the Bulgarian championship, we have a great deal of gamers of different ethnicities and skin colour. I dont think that we have this problem such as England really do.
What I meant was in the championship, weve not had such issues.
While there were events in various levels of English football between racism, which I consider something normal since it is a large country with a very diverse population.
But we do not have this difficulty in Bulgaria, I can assure you .
Watch highlights of all Englands eight European Qualifiers for free with Sky Sports – like Bulgaria vs England on Monday night.
The best pieces from each game will be offered on skysports.com, the Sky Sports app and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel from 15 minutes following fulltime – and you wont need a Sky Sports subscription to tune in.
Follow Bulgaria vs England together using our live within the Sky Sports site and program, in Addition to using Sky Sports News Euro Goal Zone; Kick-off 7.45pm. Watch highlights soon after full-time.