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Rio Ferdinand calls out Gareth Southgate over England loss – ‘Could’ve been more positive’

Rio Ferdinand believes England manager Gareth Southgate “could have been more positive” after the Three Lions fell to a penalty shootout defeat to Italy in the European Championship final at Wembley on Sunday night.

England were beaten 3-2 on spot-kicks after Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka all missed from 12 yards out, with Gianluigi Donnarumma saving from the latter two penalty takers.

Southgate’s side had led inside two minutes of normal time in the nation’s capital when left wing-back Luke Shaw hammered in right wing-back Kieran Trippier’s cross at the back post.

Leonardo Bonucci cancelled out that goal from close range in the second half to force extra time, in which no team could find a winner, forcing the game into a dreaded shootout which England ultimately lost.

But Ferdinand called into question Southgate’s tactics, asking whether he was reactive enough to the Italian changes which swung the game in their favour as they took control of the tie in the second half and in extra time.

Former England and Manchester United defender Ferdinand declared on the BBC’s coverage: “Italy adapted, England didn’t.

“We could have been more positive in this game. Look at [Italy boss Roberto] Mancini. First half we looked more comfortable.

“They go in at half-time, they adjust things and dominate the game. That’s because from a coaching perspective he’s seen something and changed it. You’ve got to be good on both sides of the game.”

He added: “You’ve got to take that on the chin. That is part and parcel of the game. These young players will grow from it.

“I was told when I lost big, big finals to watch it [back], you won’t like the taste but you will grow through it.

“Every game we’ve come here and said with England, he’s made a big decision whether it be a formation change or individual change, and he’s got it right.

“Well today, yes England didn’t get beat in the 120 minutes but we got beat on penalties. Today we were beaten by the best team of the tournament and the best team through the 120 minutes.

“People can point the finger maybe at the penalty takers, could’ve been more experience, but we’ve been in changing rooms or on the pitch at them moments, the manager looks round and there’s only certain people who put their hands up.

“You’ve got to really be proud of the young players that went out there and put their hands up to take penalties. Unfortunately it wasn’t be.”

While Frank Lampard similarly said: “You have to support them. There will be lessons to learn. It was a game that felt really tough. You realise at this level what it does to you.

“After the first 20 minutes, we never really did enough. We are asking a lot of these players. There were some outstanding performances tonight.

“I thought Harry Maguire was outstanding. But Italy were confident on the ball even when they were losing the game. Those are the lessons you learn.”

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Alan Shearer was furious that Jorginho escaped a red card before the penalty shootout for a horror challenge on Jack Grealish.

The Chelsea midfielder missed his spot-kick but the former England striker still was not impressed Bjorn Kuipers kept him on the pitch.

“Jorginho was fortunate to be on the pitch by the way. He should’ve been shown a red card,” he said.

BBC host Gary Lineker added: “Let’s have a look at the tackle. It was a very aggressive. I mean I saw a red card in this tournament when someone kicked the ball and fell through. This felt worse than that.”

To which Shearer responded: “It was careless. It was endangering the safety of an opponent. It’s over the top. It should’ve been a red card.”

While Lampard chimed in: “It feels like it follows on from VAR. There’s been a lot of good things with VAR but I’m pretty sure in the Premier League that gets look at and is a red card.

“It’s not always easy to nail them straight away but I think it’s a red card when you look at it there.”

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