Ian Wright: Southgate 'can't give up' on England's attacking plan

Ian Wright claims England boss Gareth Southgate ‘can’t give up’ on new attacking plan despite midfield duo of Mason Mount and Phil Foden failing to spark in weak draw against Hungary

  • England boss Gareth Southgate dropped tactic of two holding midfielders
  • Instead, Southgate fielded Mason Mount and Phil Foden to support a front three
  • But England failed to create much and instead looked open to Hungary counters
  • Three Lions were left frustrated as they could only draw 1-1 at Wembley 
  • Ian Wright however claims attacking idea has merit and should not be ditched 

Ian Wright has called on England manager Gareth Southgate not to ditch his attacking experiment after the Three Lions slumped to a 1-1 draw against Hungary.

England fielded a very attacking line-up which featured Harry Kane leading the front line with support from Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish, with Mason Mount and Phil Foden adding the creativity from the midfield.

But the Three Lions created very little despite the talent on display and the lack of a second holding midfielder, usually favoured by Southgate, alongside Declan Rice left them exposed to Hungarian counter attacks during the World Cup qualifier at Wembley.

Gareth Southgate rolled the dice with a more attacking line-up in England’s clash with Hungary

The England boss paired attacking duo Phil Foden (left) and Mason Mount in the midfield

Wright though believes the system should not be ditched at the first sign of weakness, and that England have the personnel to make such a tactic work in the long term. 

‘We’ve got the quality of player to do it,’ the former England striker told ITV. ‘It didn’t work today and he changed it back. We had to adapt to them because we didn’t dominate the weaker side.

‘But we can’t give up on it because we need to make the next step. We’ve got the players who are capable of doing it but we need to have faith in them.’

Harry Kane led the England front line but endured a poor night in the World Cup qualifier

Jack Grealish was the most lively England attacker but also endured a frustrating night

Raheem Sterling missed the chance to slide England ahead as along with Kane and Grealish he was substituted during the second half against Hungary

Wright though also added England’s gameplan partially failed due to an excellent performance from Hungary, who took the lead through a Roland Sallai penalty before John Stones’ equaliser later in the first half.

In addition the puzzling withdrawal of Jack Grealish, who looked England’s most attacking player, as a substitute in the second half also appeared to baffle Wright. 

‘Credit to Hungary because we didn’t expect them to play as well as they did,’ Wright added. ‘They pressed from the front and kept their energy up throughout the whole game.

But Hungary battled bravely at Wembley and were excellent value for their point on the night

‘It was disappointing seeing Jack Grealish go off because he did have the attacking spark, but in the main you just have to say them played well and we didn’t lose. But there’s a lot to think about.’

Wright’s former Arsenal team-mate Lee Dixon was also full of praise for the Hungary defence, claiming England’s tactics did little to drag them out of position while praising the visitors’ organisation at the back.

Dixon told ITV: ‘They were really well organised, shape was excellent. England didn’t do enough to pull their full backs out of position, our wide people are so high, no room in behind, three centre backs got their line absolutely spot on. It’s very difficult to get through them.’

Despite the draw, England’s hopes of reaching the World Cup finals next year remain favourable with just four points from fixtures against Albania and San Marino needed to ensure qualification. 

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