Alex Scott revealed she was left frustrated by the performance of Reece James during England’s insipid 0-0 draw against Scotland on Friday night.
Gareth Southgate’s side failed to fully capitalise on last weekend’s encouraging Group D win over Croatia and were comfortably nulified by a well-drilled Scotland side who fully merited at least a point.
The England boss, on paper at least, opted with a more attacking line-up, swapping experienced full-backs Kieran Tripper and Kyle Walker for the more attack-minded duo of Luke Shaw and James, but neither were able to make an impact in wide areas.
‘I think that was the frustrating thing, you had these changes in full-back, we all know what James has done this season and we were hoping we’d see that for him,’ former England international Scott told the BBC.
‘But did he really put in any crosses, did he get more attacking which we wanted to see from him?
‘I was watching the game with Alan and there was one point where the ball came into midfield and we were both screaming out ‘Where is he?’
‘He needed to be higher up the field and I think you have to credit Scotland because the game played exactly as they wanted.
‘They showed their tenacity they frustrated England in every single department and England didn’t have a way out from that.’
England were accused of being overly cautious last night, especially during the clsoing stages, but with qualification now virtually assure, Southgate insisted there was no need to risk defeat in pushing for victory.
He said: ‘It feels difficult in the last 15 minutes of a game like tonight where fans are desperate for you to go forward and abandon shape, because it’s Scotland, it feels like a unique occasion, but we have to still approach it that a point is still an important step towards qualification, which ultimately is the first objective for us.
‘I think in those moments, if we had to chase to win with no consequence for conceding, you might approach it differently; but all the time, it’s a night where it was a bit frantic, it wasn’t a game with a huge amount of control, and you have to make sure that sitting on three points as we were, you manage the tournament as well as the game.
‘It’s easy to gamble towards the end, and lose shape, and then end up losing the game in the last five minutes, then you’re kicking yourself for not managing the tournament. I understand we’re at Wembley, we wanted to win, but in the context of the tournament qualification is the most important thing.’
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