After his first two games at the last World Cup, Harry Kane had scored five goals. At the same stage of this tournament, he did not target.
I’m not too concerned about that stat as we know Harry plays a provider role for this England team even when he’s not scoring himself, but watching him against USA it was clear that something was wrong.
He went through that scare about his ankle before the game against USA but, after playing a big part in an impressive team performance in the game against Iran with two assists, it seemed to me very tired and very leggy.
It may be time to think about preparing him for the knockout stages, and I have a sneaky feeling that Callum Wilson could face Wales on Tuesday instead.
England still need to freshen things up, regain a sense of well-being after the disappointment of our draw against the United States, and restore some confidence.
I can understand why Gareth Southgate stayed with the same team that scored six goals against Iran but, after that, I don’t see him doing the same thing again in our last game in Group B.
Did Southgate get his subs right?
After the euphoria of our first game, everyone expected, wanted and hoped it would be a similar story against USA. It wasn’t, it was actually very flat.
I thought England defender Harry Maguire was our one-mile man-of-the-match, and that says a lot about the team’s performance. He ended up doing absolutely everything, and we needed him to
You have to give USA big credit because they kept us from playing, in addition to playing well themselves.
But of course it was disappointing that we couldn’t change the direction of the game with the attacking options we had on the bench.
I don’t say that with hindsight either. We were all watching and thinking about the replacements Gareth Southgate had made, and if they could have been earlier and if they could have been different.
I was quite surprised that one or two players didn’t come in at half-time because we were playing badly. Our plan wasn’t working and one or two players looked tired.
I would have brought Wilson in at some point, and Phil Foden too, but everyone will have an opinion on who would have made the difference – it’s the manager who makes that decision.
There will be games in this tournament where for some reason we have to change personnel or tactics or both to try and win them.
From what Southgate said afterwards, it wasn’t one of them because a point wasn’t a bad result.
A good performance will get us back on track
In terms of performance, we went from magnificent to mediocre at best.
There’s no need to worry too much about that, though. The last team to make it through a World Cup and win all seven games was Brazil 20 years ago.
Anyone who invests deeply in the tournament usually hits a bump in the road during the group stage and while that performance wasn’t great, we’re still in a very strong position.
I don’t want to sound arrogant about our chances, but we would need to lose 4-0 to Wales to fail to qualify for the knockout stages now, and that seems highly unlikely from what we’ve seen. in Qatar.
I really expected us to beat Wales and win our group, which has always been our goal.
It won’t be easy, of course. Wales’ situation means they have to win to have any chance of getting out of the group, and then you have the rivalry that you encounter every time the home nations play each other, which adds another element to the game .
I’ve never faced Wales as a player but our rivalry with Scotland was fierce enough to tell me things won’t be easy on Tuesday.
When I played against Scotland, I watched their team and knew a lot of their players well from playing them in the Premier League, and I would believe we had a better team than them.
The English players now need to have the same mentality, and I’m sure they’ll come into this game with the right attitude.
It’s pretty obvious what I want to see now – the same attacking attitude, the same ideas and the same energy that we showed in the game against Iran. If we do, we’ll be back on track for the next game of this World Cup.
Alan Shearer was talking to Chris Bevan in Doha.