Gareth Southgate has conceded his honeymoon period as England manager is over and admitted the decision to rest so many players for the teams final World Cup group game has left him open to criticism should the knockout tie with Colombia be lost.

The England players had accepted Southgates plan to make eight changes for the game against Belgium in Kaliningrad, where they were beaten 1-0, with the manager making a point of taking his captain, Harry Kane, to one side to explain his reasoning. The defeat has actually dropped England into a potentially more favourable side of the draw but, with momentum checked, Colombia represent awkward opponents in Tuesdays last-16 tie in Moscow.

Had England won against Belgium they would have topped the section and faced Japan, ranked 61 in the world, in Rostov on Monday. I think whoever we played we believe were capable of beating [them], said Southgate. And whoever we play, in a one-off game, is capable of beating us. But we had to make a decision Paul Thompson Womens Jersey we felt gave us the best opportunity preparing the whole squad for that game, and thats what we tried to do.
Of James van Riemsdyk Youth jersey course, if we dont win, I understand people would say whatever about the Belgium match as well. But, for me, that was the right thing to do and youve got to take decisions you believe are the right ones.
Maybe I have put more pressure on myself, maybe I havent. That is the least of my concerns. The most important thing for me is that the players are in the best physical condition for the game on Tuesday. I dont think, mentally, we lose anything because they know weve made changes and they know Belgium werent their full team as well.
So, were in to big matches where margins will be fine and judgment on me will be extremely Grant Hill Womens Jersey harsh. Thats why were here. We want to be in those games. To be trying to win a first knockout game for 12 years is exciting. Weve got the chance to be the team that changes that. Its one of the reasons why we did what we did [against Belgium], to give ourselves the best possible opportunity of doing that. I wasnt so comfortable with the love-in in the buildup to Belgium, to be honest, so its nice that theres a little bit of an edge back.
England have won only two World Cup knockout games since 1990 against Denmark in 2002 and Ecuador in 2006 but Southgate is convinced the decision to grant all but Jordan Pickford, John Stones and, after the break, Harry Maguire, an evening off in Kaliningrad will ensure his first-choice selection are fresh for the tie at the Spartak Stadium. He is expected to revert to the lineup that defeated Tunisia in the opening Group G fixture on Tuesday against Colombia, with Dele Alli fit to return in place of Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
The manager had spoken to Kane, still the tournaments leading scorer with five goals, to explain the strategy. I felt the need to sit with him but he was brilliant, absolutely brilliant, said Southgate. He totally understood, 100% team first. He said: Look, I know everyone says Justin Coleman Womens Jersey I want the Golden Boot. Of course its something I want to do. But the main thing is getting the team through the first knockout. He was excellent on that, showed real leadership and understanding of the big picture.
There is something about tournament strategy thats important. You have to be bold enough to accept that might come with questions at times but, if we believe its the right thing, stand by it. We have seen it in other tournaments with junior teams. When they have had an opportunity to play everyone, they have done.
The harmony of the group is really important. You get players going into training knowing they have played in a World Cup. There is a big difference as a player going home knowing you can say that. No matter how much praise I give them for the way they are training, unless you can get them on the field it doesnt feel the same for a player. wholesale jerseys from china cheap nfl jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys cheap jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys cheap jerseys