South­gate plans Wem­b­ley shootout prac­tice in bid to end penalty pain

The Guardian - Sport - - Front Page - Daniel Tay­lor

Eng­land’s foot­ball team might be put through a mock penalty shootout in front of a Wem­b­ley crowd as Gareth South­gate sets about try­ing to make sure his team will be fully pre­pared from 12 yards in the World Cup.

South­gate re­sisted the temp­ta­tion to ar­range a prac­tice shootout against Ger­many, the team fa­mous for their penalty prow­ess, af­ter the goal­less draw at Wem­b­ley on Fri­day but Eng­land’s man­ager is con­sid­er­ing putting one in place for one of the Wem­b­ley friendlies closer to the tour­na­ment.

Eng­land have gone out of six ma­jor tour­na­ments – three World Cups and three Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships – since Chris Wad­dle skied his penalty in Italia 90 and have only one suc­cess to their name against Spain in Euro 96. Tak­ing into ac­count the King Has­san II In­ter­na­tional Cup in Mo­rocco, pre-France 98, when Rob Lee and Les Fer­di­nand were the guilty men, Eng­land’s over­all record stands at seven fail­ures out of eight.

Sven-Go­ran Eriks­son con­sid­ered putting on a dress re­hearsal when Eng­land played Ja­maica at Old Traf­ford be­fore the World Cup in 2006. The Swede never went through with it, how­ever, and three of Eng­land’s penalty-tak­ers, Frank Lam­pard, Steven Ger­rard and Jamie Car­ragher, went on to miss in the quar­ter-fi­nal shootout against Por­tu­gal.

As any­one who can re­mem­ber the pizza ad­vert will be able to tes­tify, South­from gate also has first-hand ex­pe­ri­ence from Euro 96 about what it is like to take, and miss, a de­ci­sive penalty in a ma­jor com­pe­ti­tion and the Eng­land man­ager is de­ter­mined the mod­ern team will be ready in next sum­mer’s World Cup.

“It’s some­thing that we are con­sid­er­ing – how we pre­pare best for penalty shootouts,” South­gate said. “Whether that’s some­thing on the train­ing ground, whether that’s in ses­sions we do away the train­ing ground, or some­thing we do in some sort of match sce­nario. We’ve not fi­nalised that yet but clearly that [match sit­u­a­tion] is an op­tion.”

Eng­land have an­other friendly against Italy at Wem­b­ley on 27 March, with a game against Hol­land in Am­s­ter­dam four days ear­lier, and will then ar­range two more fix­tures be­fore the squad fly to their World Cup base in Repino, out­side St Pe­ters­burg.

In the mean­time South­gate is warn­ing Joe Hart, the goal­keeper he in­sists is still his No1, that he is fac­ing in­creased com­pe­ti­tion af­ter Jor­dan Pick­ford’s im­pres­sive de­but against Ger­many. Hart will re­turn for to­mor­row’s friendly against Brazil at Wem­b­ley but South­gate con­firmed the West Ham United goal­keeper would have missed out again if Jack But­land had not bro­ken a finger. “Jor­dan had an ex­cel­lent game. It was a good ex­pe­ri­ence for him, we can wrap him up now, as­sess him in the next pe­riod with his club and it’s good that he goes away with a really pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence. Now’s an op­por­tu­nity for Joe to have ex­pe­ri­ence against top op­po­si­tion as well and we’re all aware there’s really good com­pe­ti­tion in that area of the pitch.

“We have six months where all our goal­keep­ing depart­ment can show what they can do. What Jor­dan has shown is that he’s been able to make his de­but at Wem­b­ley, play with com­po­sure and show his qual­i­ties. He’s still a young goal­keeper, still learn­ing, and there are things to im­prove but it was a really pos­i­tive de­but.”

Rash­ford in­spired by Ron­aldo, page 2

Gareth South­gate, who missed the de­ci­sive penalty against Ger­many at Euro 96, wants Eng­land to be pre­pared fully for any shootout

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