England boss Gareth Southgate dealt nightmare scenario as trio fail Euro 2024 auditions | Football | Sport

England were beaten 1-0 by Iceland in a disappointing Wembley farewell ahead of Euro 2024. A worryingly toothless Three Lions performance was compounded by Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson’s 12th-minute strike. Here are four things Express Sport took away from the game.

John Stones’ injury concern

It took just 47 seconds for Gareth Southgate’s worst nightmare to come to pass. With Harry Maguire already ruled out of Euro 2024 through injury, England are desperate to keep first-choice centre-back John Stones fit.

But an early tussle with Thorsteinsson ended with Stones’ ankle getting wedged under the Iceland forward’s knee. The Manchester City defender continued until half-time when he was replaced by Ezri Konsa.

Channel 4 reported that Stones was seen walking okay inside the Wembley tunnel in the second half. It was also revealed that Lewis Dunk sat out of the game with an injury, furthering Southgate’s defensive concerns.

England will be desperate for Stones to be fit to play against Serbia in nine days’ time.

England trio struggle to make Euro 2024 claim

The central midfield spot is perhaps the one position that remains unfilled ahead of the first game against Serbia. Southgate’s use of Jude Bellingham as a No. 10 throughout qualifying suggests that the Real Madrid star will continue in the role in Germany, leaving a deeper role alongside Declan Rice vacated.

Kobbie Mainoo started there against Iceland but it remains unclear if he complements Rice. Both players like to drive forwards with the ball. Mainoo struggled to have an impact on the game, opening a potential opportunity for Conor Gallagher to start next weekend.

Cole Palmer also failed to show why he should start ahead of Bukayo Saka on the right. The Chelsea forward missed an opportunity in the second half when he stumbled after rounding the goalkeeper.

Aaron Ramsdale will also have been disappointed to concede on a rare England outing. The Arsenal goalkeeper made a couple of good saves but he remains well behind Jordan Pickford in the pecking order.

Lack of balance provides Gareth Southgate issue

Only two of England’s 11 starters against Iceland were left footed. Southgate’s decision to not take another recognised left-back despite Luke Shaw’s fitness concerns may come back to haunt the Three Lions boss.

Kieran Trippier’s presence on the left was a source of frustration, with England unable to utilise vast space on the left due to the Newcastle star’s tendency to cut back onto his dominant right foot.

Anthony Gordon justifies Jack Grealish omission

If Southgate’s decision to omit Jack Grealish came down to choosing the Man City star or Anthony Gordon then the 53-year-old made the right choice. Gordon’s form for Newcastle has earned him a spot in England’s tournament squad.

And the 23-year-old was England’s brightest player against Iceland. His driving runs towards the penalty area pose a threat that no other Three Lions player provides.

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