Poland vs England: Gareth Southgate explains why no substitutions in late World Cup qualifying draw

Southgate decided against making changes as England failed to hold on to win

Mark Critchley
Northern Football Correspondent
Thursday 09 September 2021 10:41
<p>England manager Gareth Southgate</p>

England manager Gareth Southgate

Gareth Southgate decided against making any substitutions before England collapsed to a late 1-1 draw with Poland in Warsaw as he felt his players were in control of the game.

Damian Szymanski’s 92nd-minute equaliser England's ended hopes of qualifying for next year's World Cup in Qatar with a 100 per cent record, though Southgate's side remain well-placed in Group I.

Harry Kane had appeared to set England on course for their sixth straight win, after his long-range strike dipped late to beat Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and break the deadlock.

England only had to hold on for a further 18 minutes to keep a record 12th clean sheet in a calendar year but a late spell of Polish pressure resulted in Szymanski’s leveller.

Southgate became the first England manager in 25 years to choose not to go without making a substitution during an entire game, since Terry Venables in the Euro '96 semi-final against Germany.

When asked whether he was tempted to make a change as England attempted to hold out for a win, Southgate said: "No, because we were in total control of the game.

"To bring players into that moment when everyone was performing to a good level and we were in control of possession, you can put players into the game who've had to sit in the stand and it's not so easy to come in in those latter stages.

"There were a couple of moments we looked at it and said no we're doing well no problem.

"We were going to refresh the wide players right at the end but that would've been to wind the clock down more than anything, but before we could get them in we conceded and it wasn't a good time to make a change."

Southgate admitted that his players failed to create enough clear cut chances but ended the evening pleased with their reaction to the summer's Euro 2020 disappointment over the course of the September camp.

"In the end we concede late which is a disappointment but across the 10 days the players have been together they've been fantastic.

"We couldn't be sure what sort of reaction we would have after the summer but we had a really positive one. I think the two away games, I think we've given really mature performances."

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