Ex-Arsenal star Cesc Fabregas slams Southgate for benching Palmer against Serbia

Cesc Fabregas slams Southgate || Imago

Ex-Arsenal star Cesc Fabregas slams Southgate for benching Palmer against Serbia

Stephen Oladehinde 15:24 - 17.06.2024

Gareth Southgate's tactical choices during England's victory over Serbia at Euro 2024 have left Cesc Fabregas confused.

The Three Lions had to work hard for their first Group C victory and did not appear to be convincing in the game. 

The England head coach left Chelsea’s best player last season, Cole Palmer, on the bench as an unused substitute.

Fabregas has called out the manager for his tactical decision and his substitution pick after failing to bring in Palmer in the game.

Fabregas on Southgate

Chelsea legend Fabregas brought up Cole Palmer's unused substitution, saying that the Chelsea star was not given a chance to play.

According to Football London, Fabregas said, "If you send the message in putting in a defensive midfielder or an extra defender to cover the result, you will as a player feel it. 

Cesc Fabregas || Imago
Cesc Fabregas || Imago

"Mentally you start going back, dropping more. But instead if you put an offensive player, Palmer let's say, up the pitch and controlling the ball in the final third, I think the players get so much more comfortable."

In addition, Fabregas criticised Phil Foden specifically for what he saw as his lack of influence on the game.

England manager Gareth Southgate | IMAGO
England manager Gareth Southgate | IMAGO

Fabregas continued, "It's about do you want it enough to make a difference and hold the ball for your team? Do you want to make things happen? Do you enjoy to get the ball under pressure?

"They allowed them to have the ball when they were deep once in the second half, straight away, when they started to get pressed a little bit more, we started to see Foden hitting the ball without looking 40 yards.

Chelsea star Cole Palmer || Imago
Chelsea star Cole Palmer || Imago

"You'll never see Xavi, [Andres] Iniesta, the top, top players in the last 15, 20, years, do that," he said. "You need to take this responsibility to grow."

Fabregas concluded by expressing his disappointment with the second-half performance and called on young talents like Foden to rise to the occasion: "I think that the second half was a little bit underwhelming. 

“I would say that is the right word. And I think players like Foden, they need to step up. This is the time for them to go into big tournaments with their country behind them."

With three days to work things out before their important Group C match against Denmark on Thursday, Southgate and his side have a critical window of time.