Joe Cole warns England need to be braver and claims Gareth Southgate’s team ‘lost its way’

Joe Cole warns England need to be braver at the World Cup and claims Gareth Southgate’s side have ‘lost their way’… while slamming ‘unacceptable’ display in Nations League loss to Italy

  • England suffered a 1-0 defeat against Italy in the Nations League at the San Siro stadium
  • As a result, head coach Gareth Southgate’s team was relegated from his group
  • Joe Cole said England “must be braver” after the disappointing result

Former Chelsea star Joe Cole urged England to be braver after Gareth Southgate’s side lost 1-0 to Italy in the Nations League.

In the rematch of last year’s European Championship final, England lacked the inspiration to move forward and the first half ended goalless.

Although the hosts will not participate in the next World Cup after failing to qualify, it was Roberto Mancini’s side that broke the deadlock in the 68th minute through Napoli striker Giacomo Raspadori.

Gareth Southgate’s side suffered another disappointing result against Italy in the Nations League

England were ultimately unable to regain control of the match from their opponents and the match ended with another disappointing result in the competition for Southgate – meaning relegation to the second tier of the Nations League.

Speaking on Channel 4 after the match, Cole explained what he believes are the core issues within the England squad:

This is how we started the match. The Italians were dealing with him and we were not approaching them. Problems keep popping up.

These boys have the ability. They are top level players. Judd Bellingham, 19, was our best player tonight. But this is not acceptable with the quality that we have because they have the capacity.

But Joe Cole praised Judd Bellingham's performance in the 1-0 loss at the San Siro

But Joe Cole praised Judd Bellingham’s performance in the 1-0 loss at the San Siro

The 40-year-old made 56 caps for England and initially cemented his place at the 2006 World Cup in Germany after impressing in the pre-tournament matches.

Realizing how important it is to make a good impression before a major competition, Cole made clear the importance of England’s pre-tournament final against Germany.

It puts a huge burden on the game. It is the last game we will play as a group before we are in Qatar. There’s a character, there’s a character in this group, but they’ve lost their way through the last five or six matches. They can find it. Gareth Southgate has to find a way to motivate this group over the next week.

Cole also stressed the importance of England doing better in their last game before the World Cup

Cole also stressed the importance of England doing better in their last game before the World Cup

Cole wasn’t the only former international to share his views on the team’s disappointing performance at Milan.

The result marks England’s relegation from their Nations League group, and Matthew Upson said the result only illustrates the issues within the team at this time.

Having the word “drop” right now for this group of players is just rubbing salt in the wounds. It’s about performance or underperformance as a team with the ability to be creative, cohesive and gel with that kind of movement and passing. It’s not particularly smooth at the moment.

I thought the distances and angles especially in the wide areas weren’t quite right. They weren’t pulling each other at right angles and creating that space. The movement wasn’t there, the former West Ham star explained on 5 Live.