England players look worn out and they don’t need more games – nor do the fans

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Do us all a favour Gareth Southgate, don’t bother finding a replacement for New Zealand next month. Nobody needs any more of this.

Not Harry Kane, who needs a rest. Not Harry Maguire, whose early red card left England playing with ten men for an hour, and who needs some time away from the spotlight.

And certainly not the fans, who almost certainly won’t be allowed into Wembley anyway and could probably do without any more of this dross on the TV.

New Zealand aren’t coming for their November 12 friendly because they fear it could “potentially jeopardise” their players’ careers.

Well there’s a few England players who may feel the same, the way things are going. They need a break.

They’re playing Belgium three days later anyway, and then Iceland three days after that. Australia could be asked to fill in, but really, why bother?

Christian Eriksen celebrated his 100th cap by scoring a penalty against the ten men on a night to forget for many of Southgate’s players.

That was enough to ensure England’s first home defeat in two years and undo all the good work from the win over Belgium. 

One step forward. Two steps back. 

And it ended on an even more sour note when Reece James marred his full debut by also getting his marching orders for dissent after the final whistle.

Southgate wanted England to show they were a big team by backing up Sunday’s win with another. But it all went horribly wrong.

As a group, they weren't at it from the start, with Conor Coady making a big intervention to deny Kasper Dolberg a certain goal.

It was all too predictable by England. When Marcus Rashford made a great burst into space, Declan Rice didn’t see him and played it safe instead.

Southgate could be accused of playing it safe too by picking Chelsea’s Mason Mount over a more maverick and crowd-pleasing option like Jack Grealish.

And when Mount did find space down the right, he wasted it three times running by failing to pick out anyone with his cross.

Then it got ugly. Maguire, already in the book for a clumsy stamp on Yussuf Poulsen, lost concentration – and control of the ball.

In a bid to win it back he caught Dolberg on the follow through with a clumsy lunge and promptly got sent off.

If that looked a fair call, Spanish referee Jesus Gil Manzano’s decision to hand Denmark a penalty for a foul by Kyle Walker on Thomas Delaney looked laughable. 

Where was VAR when you needed it? If anything it was Delaney committing the foul but Eriksen made no mistake from the spot to hand Denmark the lead.

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To their credit, England almost equalised when Rice won a header from a corner and Kasper Schmeichel made a decent close-range save to deny Mount on the follow-up.

And Southgate did send on some big guns to try to save it, with Jadon Sancho, Jordan Henderson and man of the moment Dominic Calvert-Lewin all seeing action.

Schmeichel had to tip over a decent free kick from James and Coady had a header from a Kane cross cleared off the line by Simon Kjaer before it was over.

But it ended in even more misery when James also saw red following a scuffle at the final whistle. One to forget.

  • England Football Team
  • Gareth Southgate

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