England are already practicing penalty kicks ahead of the World Cup as Gareth Southgate points to a lack of regular players



England‘s players are already practicing penalty kicks ahead of the prospect of one World Championship shootout after manager Gareth Southgate identified it as one of the “areas we think we can improve to become world champions”.

England painfully missed out on a first major tournament trophy in 55 years after lost in the European Championship 2020 final at Wembley to Italy on penalties.

Harrys Kane and Maguire scored for England in the penalty shootout, but Marcus Rashford hit the post while Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka so the effort saved by Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Southgate’s deep analysis after the European Championships has identified key areas for England’s manager, his coaches, team staff and players to work on if they want a chance to lift the World Cup in Qatar at the end of the year.

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After two near-accidents – reaching the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and finishing in second place at the European Championships 2020 – England will be one of the favorites to enter the tournament.

It has become clear to Southgate that his squad lacks players who regularly take penalties for their club and he hopes extra work can prevent this from becoming a problem during the knockout phase of the World Cup.

“We’ve gone into various details with the players in areas we think we can improve to become world champions,” Southgate said ahead of a friendly against Ivory Coast on Tuesday night.

“We did not have a chance to do it in such detail in the autumn, as we had to go directly into the focus of the qualification, so we felt that this camp was a good time to start it.

‘Punishment has been a part of it. What’s clear about regular penalty shooters for their club, we really only have Harry Kane [at Tottenham] and James Ward-Prowse [at Southampton]. Rashford would have been the second highest in terms of penalties, but Bruno Fernandes is Manchester United’s normal penalty taker, and when we played against Italy, their top five had taken more than 40 penalties in competitive matches.

“Kane is at that level and Marcus is the next one at 20. So we’ll have to look at it differently than just accepting that they will train in their clubs and they will be able to get in and that. is the challenge we have posed with some individual work.

“We think it’s the right thing to do, and yes, it may feel like they think it’s a little early to do it, but if you take match days out and the day after a match, you’re probably talking about 20 training days. [with England] between now and the situation that is happening in a knockout phase. “

Southgate, meanwhile, insists England will not hand out national team matches to young players of dual nationality just to tie them to play for the country. Southgate recently said he hopes 20-year-old Crystal Palace attacking midfielder Michael Olise would want to play for England.

Olise, who was born in England but can play for France through her French-Algerian mother and Nigeria through her father, is currently with France’s U21s.

A player is not committed to a country until they play in a competitive senior game for them. Shortly after becoming England’s coach, Southgate tried to persuade Wilfried Zaha to represent England before the winger selected Tuesday’s opponents Ivory Coast.

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“There may be an age where if you have not received that recognition, you may start to think I can have an international career somewhere else, and now is the time I want to take that call,” Southgate added.

“It gets more and more complicated. Many of our really young juniors can now play for three or four different countries and we want to make sure we are not arrogant by simply assuming they will play for England. But I also do not think we should track people and give them caps just to tie them tight. I do not think that would be the right thing to do ethically. ”

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