England lost their second semi-final in two years last night as they went down 3-1 against the Netherlands in the Nations League.
Gareth Southgate’s side took the lead via a Marcus Rashford penalty but sat back too deep in the second half and allowed Matthijs de Ligt to equalise with 17 minutes to go to take the game to extra time.
But while the Three Lions were not brave enough to play their football in the opponents’ half, they were insistent on playing out of the back – and it eventually cost them.
Firstly, John Stones dallied on the ball when faced with a lack of options and it led to a Kyle Walker own goal, before Ross Barkley gave the ball away and allowed Quincy Promes to seal it.
The commitment to playing out from the back is admirable, but there’s a time and a place to do it. And while it seemed like the former Everton pair might have gone to another level since leaving to join top six sides, they exhibited tendencies that dogged their Goodison Park careers.
Stones would overplay in deep areas under Roberto Martinez, while Barkley would try and dribble out of any situation – often to Everton’s cost.
It must have felt like a case of deja vu for Toffees fans watching two old boys still exhibiting similar failings in something of an unwelcome throwback to the Martinez era.