England to conduct 'brutally honest' Six Nations review but won't rush decision on Jones future

By Sports Desk March 23, 2021

England will conduct a "brutally honest" internal review of their Six Nations performance but will not rush the decision on the future of Eddie Jones.

The 2019 World Cup finalists finished fifth in this year's Six Nations tournament, losing all three games against Scotland, Wales and Ireland for the first time since 1976.

A spirited victory over France had restored some credibility to the side after a shock 11-6 home defeat to Scotland and a resounding 40-24 loss in Cardiff, but their campaign concluded last weekend with a 32-18 reverse in Dublin.

England conceded 121 points in their five games, more than in any previous Five or Six Nations championship, leaving Jones' position as head coach under serious scrutiny.

Bill Sweeney, CEO of the Rugby Football Union (RFU), accepted there was huge disappointment around their performance and that tough questions must be asked as they attempt to build a squad capable of winning the World Cup in two years' time.

However, he insisted on Tuesday that any possible changes to the team will be given great consideration.

Asked to summarise England's Six Nations campaign, Sweeney replied: "How long have you got?

"It's a tough question. We're all incredibly disappointed. England don't go into a Six Nations to come fifth, which is why we'll have a thorough debrief.

"We had a debrief scheduled for May and we'll probably bring it forward to April. It needs to be a thorough, brutally honest analysis of what went wrong and why.

"Since Japan, our focus is on going and winning a World Cup in France.

"You'd expect us to do an absolute and full debrief. You have to recognise and respect Eddie's achievements since he's been here: three Six Nations championships, a grand slam, a World Cup final - that's a tremendous performance.

"But he wants to understand this as much as anybody and we want to let him talk to us about what happened in the Six Nations and are we on track to where we want to get to in 2023.

"It's really important at this stage to apply good old English calm. We have to react, we won't do nothing, but it's important not to overreact. We won't leave any stone unturned in trying to understand it.

"It's a young squad, it was the youngest ever team in a World Cup final, and yet we're in a period of transition. It's unusual. When you're in transition, you want to make sure you're heading in the right direction.

"I don't think I can honestly answer [if he will be sacked]. He's as disappointed as we are, and we'll do this debriefing session together."

Related items

  • The Numbers Game: England out to book last-16 spot at Euro 2024 The Numbers Game: England out to book last-16 spot at Euro 2024

    England know that the last 16 of Euro 2024 is within touching distance as they head into a reunion with Denmark.

    The Three Lions beat the Danes in the semi-finals at Euro 2020, coming from behind to win 2-1 after extra time.

    Harry Kane was England's hero as he converted a penalty winner, though spot-kicks would of course go on to prove to be their downfall in the final against Italy.

    There is less on the line when England face Denmark again on Thursday, though Gareth Southgate's team will progress to the knockout stage should they win.

    Here, we use Opta data to preview the Group C clash.

    What's expected?

    England are forecasted to win this one, with the Opta supercomputer handing them a 54.5 per cent chance of getting the job done in Frankfurt.

    Denmark are sure to be no pushovers, though, and have a 20.6 per cent win likelihood, with the draw threat at 25 per cent.

    This will be the fourth encounter between Denmark and England at a major tournament. Three of those will have come at the Euros, and one at the 2002 World Cup.

     

    Denmark won none of the previous three meetings (D1 L2), scoring only one goal in the process, Mikkel Damsgaard's free-kick in the semi-final of Euro 2020.

    There have only been five goals scored in the last four meetings between Denmark (two) and England (three) in all competitions.

    Meanwhile, the Three Lions only had 12 touches in Serbia's box in their 1-0 win on MD1, their lowest total of touches in the opposition box in a European Championship game since 2012 against Ukraine (also 12).

    Indeed, the England v Serbia match saw only 11 shots (five for England, six for Serbia) – that tally is the lowest on record in a European Championship match, fewer than every one of the other 322 matches in the competition since 1980.

    England have also kept a clean sheet in each of their last five group-stage matches at the European Championship finals, the longest such run in the competition's history.

    So, this game is probably not one to expect too many goals in.

    Bellingham a safe bet but can Foden and Kane flourish?

    Jude Bellingham came into Euro 2024 with the pressure and hype ramped right up. He is the face of this England squad, and there is an onus on him to deliver.

    Well, he started on the right foot, scoring in the 13th minute on Sunday to seal that 1-0 victory over Serbia.

    Bellingham displayed the kind of chance-sniffing instinct he has demonstrated so brilliantly during his first season at Real Madrid, getting on the end of Bukayo Saka's deflected cross and powering home with his head.

    Having become the first player to play at two European Championship tournaments before the age of 21, he is also the second England player to score at two major tournaments before turning 21 (also scored vs Iran at the 2022 World Cup), along with Michael Owen, who scored at the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.

    Bellingham was crucial in every aspect against Serbia. He led England for touches (93), while only Declan Rice (81) and Kyle Walker (77) attempted more passes than the 20-year-old, who also competed in a team-leading 16 duels, winning 10 of them, and was successful with two of his three tackles.

    Southgate's system seems designed to allow Bellingham to flourish, though has that come at the expense of Phil Foden?

    The Manchester City star struggled when he did find space against Serbia, though there is perhaps a case that the Premier League Player of the Year is being shoehorned in out of position, too.

    Kane, meanwhile, had just two touches in the opening 45 minutes, before finishing with 24 – exactly half that of Jordan Pickford and the lowest of any England outfielder who started the match. The Bayern Munich striker did have a header tipped onto the crossbar, but that was his only chance of the game. Southgate needs to get him more service.

     

    England average 1.9 goals per game under Southgate at major tournaments, the best ratio of any Three Lions boss, but there could be so much more to come from this star-studded attack.

    Christian the Great (Dane)

    Christian Eriksen scored his maiden goal at the European Championship in Denmark's 1-1 draw with Slovenia.

    At 32 years and 123 days old, he became the oldest Dane to score at the Euros and oldest at a major tournament since 33-year-old Jon Dahl Tomasson at the 2010 World Cup.

    It was a clever run and deft finish from the Manchester United playmaker, who created seven chances from set-pieces in the match, the most by a player in a European Championship fixture since Gary McAllister in 1992 for Scotland against Germany (eight).

     

    Getting Eriksen into dangerous positions has to be the gameplan for Kasper Hjulmand's team, who completed 583 passes and enjoyed an 89 per cent passing accuracy against Slovenia, both record highs for the Danes that Opta has on record (since 1980) at the European Championship.

    Despite their run to the last four three years ago, Denmark have won just one of their last six group stage games at the Euros (D1 L4), beating Russia 4-1 at Euro 2020 to ensure qualification to the round of 16.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Denmark - Rasmus Hojlund 

    Eriksen will be the one England have to stop influencing the match in midfield, but John Stones and Marc Guehi – should they start – will have to be on high alert to keep Man United's Hojlund under wraps, too.

    He only had one shot against Slovenia, which he did get on target, but he is a quality finisher and can certainly do some damage.

    England - Phil Foden

    Foden created just one chance in a subdued performance against Serbia, but there can be no doubting his quality.

    Get him more involved, and in fairness, Foden has to sharpen up when he does get on the ball, and England will surely have far too much for Denmark's defence.

     

  • Mainoo pleased to have 'peace of mind' over ten Hag decision Mainoo pleased to have 'peace of mind' over ten Hag decision

    Kobbie Mainoo is pleased to have “peace of mind” over the future of Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag.

    The Dutchman looked set to be sacked following a disappointing season, only to lead United to FA Cup success against Manchester City last month.

    Mainoo, who is away with England at Euro 2024, scored the decisive goal in the 2-1 win at Wembley to cap off an impressive debut year for the 19-year-old. 

    Following United's 13th FA Cup success, a post-season review ultimately led to Ten Hag being told he would remain in charge at Old Trafford under the new ownership. 

    Mainoo is preparing for the Three Lions' second group game against Denmark on Thursday, having made his international tournament debut against Serbia as a late substitute. 

    When asked for his verdict on United’s decision to keep ten Hag, Mainoo was thankful for his head coach after his maiden season with the first team. 

    'I am so GRATEFUL for Erik ten Hag, I can't thank him enough!' Kobbie Mainoo#manutd #mufc #eriktenhag

    Full press conference on the BeanymanSports YouTube channel https://t.co/XK0O6uf59H pic.twitter.com/QIZ5eq5xbI

    — BeanymanSports (@BeanymanSports) June 18, 2024

    "Obviously, (I am) happy to be building with him," Mainoo said. "He’s already got two trophies, hopefully there’s more to come. 

    "It’s nice to have that peace of mind that we know what manager we’re going back to in the new season.

    "I’m so grateful for him that he put so much trust in me and belief in me to play in the team. Yeah, I can’t thank him enough."

    Mainoo made 32 appearances across all competitions, scoring five goals, ultimately resulting in his inclusion in the 26-man squad that travelled to Germany, picked ahead of the likes of James Maddison, Jordan Henderson, and Jack Grealish. 

  • Euro 2024 social round-up: Mbappe's broken nose, Neville's concern and the stars are out Euro 2024 social round-up: Mbappe's broken nose, Neville's concern and the stars are out

    Euro 2024 is truly up and running, with five of the six groups having already gone through their first matchdays.

    On Monday, favourties France clicked into gear with a 1-0 win over Austria.

    That came after Romania thrashed Ukraine 3-0 and Belgium were the first major side to suffer a shock defeat, going down 1-0 to Slovenia.

    But what about the action on social media? We've picked out some of the best posts...

     

    The stars are out

    There's plenty of big names taking in all the action in Germany, and there were some superstars in attendance to watch on as France faced Austria in Dusseldorf.

    Among them were Portuguese great Luis Figo, Germany icon Philipp Lahm, and Spain legend - and current Bayer Leverkusen coach - Xabi Alonso.

    Lahm posted on Instagram: "#AUTFRA in best company! Amazing how fans from Europe and all over the world have turned Germany into a big festival within just a few days."

    Expected broken bones (xBB)?

    Poor old Kylian Mbappe. He just can't catch a break at the Euros.

    He did help create France's winner against Austria, but subsequently missed a great chance (one that had an expected goals value of 0.6) in the second half, and is yet to score at the European Championships.

    To top it off, he then sustained what appeared to be a broken nose when his face clashed with Kevin Danso's shoulder.

    Mbappe also received a booking before he was eventually substituted. Opta Analyst saw the funny side, at least. 

    Evergreen

    Eyebrows were raised in some quarters when Didier Deschamps elected to select N'Golo Kante in France's squad.

    At 33 and having struggled with injuries in recent seasons, Kante now plies his trade out in Saudi Arabia.

    Yet he was simply magnificent in the heart of France's midfield against Austria. He attempted three tackles, won two of them and made two interceptions in an all-action display.

    Key skills

    Fan parks in Germany are equipped with CPR training centres, so supporters can learn how to potentially save a life if required.

    And it's not just the fans who are able to take in a lesson. 

    As UEFA's official X account showed, the players are getting involved too. The Romanian team gave it a go.

    Midfield an issue for England?

    Gary Neville is out in Germany as a pundit for ITV Sport, though the former England defender was back on Sky Sports to share his thoughts on the Three Lions' display against Serbia on Sunday.

    And Neville fears for the balance of Gareth Southgate's midfield.

    "The midfield is the major concern and the fluidity of the game that comes through there is one thing we need to try and work on in the group stage because when we play against a good team, we'll have to have it right," said Neville. 

    "There are some small alarm bells around balance and having a good group of players that are very talented but are we as good a team?"

    Quickfire tour

    Ever wondered what it's like behind the scenes at a team training camp at a major tournament?

    Well, Scotland's social media team allowed fans to have a quick peep behind the curtain by sharing a 45-second video of their Alpine training base.

    Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a town in Bavaria, and it's as picturesque as you can imagine.

    Where's Wally?

    Can you pick out one character in a sea of red and white?

    The Austria fans were out in uniform for their clash with France!

    Would you like fries with that?

    It was far from a dream start for Belgium, as they slumped to a 1-0 loss to Slovakia.

    Romelu Lukaku was twice thwarted by VAR, and squandered numerous big chances.

    But Lukaku can at least take solace in the fact he is not the Belgium fan who elected to turn up to the match wearing a hat resembling a portion of french fries... That really is having a chip on your shoulder!

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.