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Gareth Southgate provides bizarre reason why Kobbie Mainoo isn’t starting for England



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Gareth Southgate has provided a bizarre reason for why Manchester United midfielder Kobbie Mainoo has not started for England at Euro 2024 so far.

The European Championships has been a brilliant and refreshing tournament so far if you ignore the two England games so far.

End-to-end games with surprises and great goals have been watered down by the expected snore-fests that Gareth Southgate’s side has produced.

After a 1-0 victory over Serbia last weekend, the Three Lions drew 1-1 with Denmark on Thursday despite once again taking an early lead.

Phil Foden, Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka have been some of the best attacking players in Europe over the last 12 months but look almost anonymous in an England shirt.

One of the major problems has been the makeup of the midfield, with Southgate trying to force Trent Alexander-Arnold into the team rather than focusing on balance.

Kobbie Mainoo was one of United’s best players last season, while Adam Wharton burst onto the scene at Crystal Palace after his January move. They have played nine minutes between them so far. There are talented midfield players being ignored.

“Look, clearly, we’re disappointed with the two performances we’ve had,” said the under-fire England boss.

Speaking on those midfield issues, Southgate bizarrely suggested that the problem in midfield is that England do not have a natural replacement for West Ham and Manchester City flop Kalvin Phillips.

“We have been trying to find a solution in midfield for seven or eight years,” Southgate added.

“If we hadn’t had Declan Rice for the last few years, I don’t know where we’d have been.

“We know it is an experiment – we don’t have a natural replacement for Kalvin Phillips – but we are trying some different things.”

Yes, Gareth. You don’t have a Kavin Phillips, you have two natural upgrades on him. Two players that Declan Rice has been praising immensely.

He suggests that experiments are going on when the simple and most effective solution would be to play one of the two excellent young midfield players in midfield rather than doing exactly what your predecessors did and forcing too many cooks into the kitchen.