Danny Murphy thinks Gareth Southgate made a mistake by playing James Maddison on the left against Ukraine, insisting that the Tottenham man does not have the legs needed to track back.
The Tottenham man started on the left of a front three, alongside Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka, seemingly being given the freedom to drift inwards in possession.
Maddison was largely ineffective in the encounter and was replaced midway into the second half by Phil Foden as the Three Lions went in search of an elusive match-winner.
Murphy has insisted that playing the former Leicester City star on the left meant that there were gaping holes defensively for England since the 26-year-old did not track back.
Maddison doesn’t have the legs to track back
The pundit told Premier League All Access Podcast about Southgate’s decision to play Maddison on the left: “It’s been a rarity for a reason because he’s not particularly good defensively, he’s not great. He’s not a great long-distance sprinter.
“He’s not dynamic enough to chase full-backs down and as you say the goal came from that side as Chilwell was 2 vs 1 on more than one occasion. If you’re going to give a player the freedom down the left, you’re going to leave yourself wide open down that side.”
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Southgate played a lopsided formation, which often shifted from a back four to a back three in possession, with Maddison being given the freedom to receive the ball in the half-spaces and zone 14.
However, the Tottenham man did occupy the left flank when England did not have the ball and Murphy’s point about his lack of defensive work leaving the Three Lions exposed, is a fair one.
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