Southgate Jumps To Stones Defence

Southgate Jumps To Stones Defence

Gareth Southgate has jumped to the defence of Manchester City defender John Stones following his blunder in England’s defeat with Holland. The Three Lions Nations Cup dream is over following a 3-1 semi-final defeat against Holland, with Stones’ error in extra time proving to be the decisive moment.

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With the score delicately poised at 1-1, a shocking mistake by Stones led Kyle Walker to turn into his own net, with England then conceding a third as a Ross Barkley error allowed Quincy Promes to seal Holland a win. Speaking after the game, Southgate offered support to Stones, and refused to throw him under the bus.

“I think we’ve had some players who, at the end of the season, have found it difficult in terms of amount of minutes on the pitch – and others having the complete opposite,” Southgate said. “I think fatigue has played a part tonight, a lack of match sharpness.

I’m asking them to play in a way that puts them under huge pressure at the back. “If we didn’t play that way, we wouldn’t have got to the semi-finals we’ve got to, and we would never progress to being a top team because you saw the way Holland played that way as well.

“They also made a really poor error at the back. But I have got to be there to support John because he’s going to get criticism after tonight. “But himself and Harry (Maguire), the way we ask them to play, they take huge strain of the game on their shoulders and they’re incredibly courageous to do that.”

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