Carragher reacts to Saka substitution in England win
Jamie Carragher told The Telegraph that Gareth Southgate deserves credit for the bravery he showed as England beat Germany on Tuesday, highlighting the decision he made to take Arsenal starlet Bukayo Saka off during the second-half.
The Three Lions will face Ukraine for a place in the last four at Euro 2020. It comes after they won 2-0 at Wembley this week.
It was a nervy, tense affair for much of the contest. And heading into the final 20 minutes, it was still goalless.
Understandably, Southgate decided to put Jack Grealish on. But the sight of Grealish getting ready prompted many to ask the same question: who would he replace?
Both Raheem Sterling and Saka had caused plenty of problems for Germany. Saka had certainly vindicated the decision for him to start after his outstanding performance against Czech Republic.
Some may have wondered therefore, if a change of strategy was coming to accommodate Sterling, Saka and Grealish.
However, Southgate decided to bring Saka off. And England went on to win, with Grealish playing a role in both goals.
Carragher lauded Southgate’s decision-making in the wake of the contest as he admitted that he would not have taken Saka out of the game at that moment.
“Against Germany, Southgate ignored public opinion to take his biggest gamble yet,” he told The Telegraph. “While a nation demanded he attack, Southgate sacrificed an attacking midfielder and reverted to three centre-backs.
“Even with the tie poised at 0-0 on 69 minutes, Southgate’s first substitution was divisive. Bukayo Saka contributed well again, so although we all wanted to see Grealish brought on, few would have hooked the Arsenal youngster.”
Arsenal star Saka remains a contender for starting spot despite Grealish heroics in England win
Grealish’s introduction certainly could be considered the catalyst for England getting the two goals. But that is not to say Saka did anything wrong.
As Carragher notes, few would have taken the Arsenal man off in the change that saw Grealish introduced.
So he surely remains in contention to keep his place against Ukraine.
Of course, many will be calling for Grealish to start. But as Carragher suggests, Southgate is brave enough to ignore the noise from elsewhere.