Football

In search of the next Gazza

Southgate longs for someone in the mould of the former England star, Redknapp has suggestions

Former England international Jamie Redknapp believes Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate should be looking out of his current squad for someone in the mould of Paul Gascoigne.

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The Three Lions lost their opening Uefa Nations League match 2-1 to Spain on Saturday, with Southgate lamenting that they need someone who can "receive under pressure" and "dribble past people, pass past people".

"The only one in my lifetime is Gascoigne," the England boss said, referring to the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder who rose to stardom at the 1990 World Cup and last played for England in 1998.

During last Saturday's defeat by Spain, midfielder Thiago Alcantara dictated the tempo and helped Luis Enrique win his first match in charge of the former world champions.

Redknapp told the Daily Mail: "The way Spain dominated the midfield at Wembley highlighted just what England are missing.

"We are crying out for a player like Thiago, who can see a pass, move the ball quickly and is proficient with both feet.

"It is like a conveyor belt the way Spain keep producing these technically gifted midfielders."

Redknapp picked five players who could make the difference for the Three Lions, reserving praise for Leicester City's little-known midfielder James Maddison, 21.

Redknapp said: "I watched him play against Liverpool recently.

"Despite facing one of the highest-energy midfields in the country, Maddison was the standout player in the game.

"He had a fantastic season last year with Norwich, scoring 14 goals and setting up another eight.

"The fact that he has worked his way up through League One and the Championship means he has slipped under the radar."

LIKE SILVA

Redknapp added that Maddison may not be the quickest, but can get past defenders, just like Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva.

"He has made the step up to the Premier League seamlessly and is thriving playing alongside better players," added Redknapp.

"Capped four times at Under 21 level, he is already good enough for a senior call-up. Maintain his early season form and that will only be a matter of time."

Others players who could fit the mould include Derby County's Mason Mount, Manchester City's Phil Foden, Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Winks and Newcastle United's Jonjo Shelvey, added Redknapp.

Despite losing three matches in a row, including their last two matches at the World Cup, Southgate is reportedly set to make up to nine changes for the friendly against Switzerland at the King Power Stadium tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

Leicester City pair Ben Chilwell and Demarai Gray could make their senior international debut at their home stadium after earning late call-ups.

Chilwell could replace Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw, who suffered concussion after a blow to his head in the Spain match and has returned to the club.

Spurs midfielder Dele Alli has also withdrawn from the squad due to a minor muscle strain, facing a race against time to be fit for the match against Liverpool on Saturday, reported AFP.

Goalkeepers Alex McCarthy and Marcus Bettinelli could also get their first England cap.

Striker Harry Kane and defender John Stones are likely to be the only ones to keep their places in the side.

Kyle Walker and James Tarkowski could slot in as right wing-back and left centreback, replacing Kieran Trippier and Harry Maguire, respectively.

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