Southgate England left-back gamble GFXGOAL

Gareth Southgate’s biggest Euro 2024 mistake has been exposed as England's left-back problem threatens to be their undoing

Ask any England fan to pick one trait of Gareth Southgate’s managerial style and the words ‘risk’ and ‘averse’ are bound to come up. The manager’s cautious nature explains why he has always favoured having two holding midfielders and why he has been careful to call up players into his squad as soon as they start making a name for themselves at their club.

But lately he has thrown caution to the wind and gone against his usual nature. In March, he fast-tracked then-18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo into the squad after initially leaving him out. In May, he dispensed with long-time servants Jordan Henderson and Marcus Rashford for his provisional squad for Euro 2024, before also snubbing Jack Grealish for his final squad. He also brought in Adam Wharton despite him having less than four months of top-flight experience.

But the biggest risk Southgate took was including Luke Shaw in his squad for the Euros despite him being injured since February. And now that decision, coupled with the call to pick no other natural left-back as a back-up, is looking like the manager's biggest mistake…

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