Ollie Watkins watches on as England's attack disappoints once more

Last night saw England put in another very poor performance at the European Championships, drawing 0-0 with Slovenia.
England v Slovenia: Group C - UEFA EURO 2024
England v Slovenia: Group C - UEFA EURO 2024 / Richard Sellers/Allstar/GettyImages

England continued their poor run of performances at Euro 2024 as they finished the group stages with a desperately poor 0-0 draw against the side ranked 57th in the world, Slovenia.

Despite the result ensuring England finished top of Group C ahead of second placed Denmark, England fans have been less than impressed by the performances and results so far. England topped the group having beaten Serbia 1-0 and only managing a point against both Denmark and Slovenia. It has certainly been uninspiring stuff from Gareth Southgate's team so far.

Steve Holland, Gareth Southgate
England v Slovenia: Group C - UEFA EURO 2024 / Richard Pelham/GettyImages

Going into the tournament it was obvious to all looking in that England are blessed in the attacking department with a plethora of exceptionally gifted players. It was predicted that the team's main issue was going to be in defense due to the absences of Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw. However, despite not being tested to a great extent by three fairly average teams, the defense have looked fairly solid and England's biggest problem is going forward, creating chances and ultimately scoring goals.

The attack again looked extremely stale last night with the team only managing to create a handful of half-chances. Minus the Cole Palmer efforts in the final few moments, Jan Oblak in the Slovenia goal was not tested at all. Harry Kane has had very little impact across the group games and his positioning on the pitch is causing England problems.

Aston Villa fans are all asking the same thing - how is Ollie Watkins not getting more game time?

Could Ollie Watkins give England a different dimension?

It is very unlikely that Southgate would take the risk of benching England's all-time top goalscorer. Harry Kane has been a phenomenal player for England for a number of years and is the captain and leader of the team. However, his approach to playing as the leading striker is one of England's biggest problems.

As he did at Spurs, Kane is dropping into deep midfield areas regularly to pick the ball up and attempt to influence the game from a more defensive area. During his time at Spurs, it was fairly understandable to take this approach due to the poor midfield Spurs had and Kane had the licence to be the playmaker by dropping deep. However, England have such a huge talent pool of players in the midfield that he does not need to play this way. By dropping deep, he is condensing the space for the likes of Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden to work in and then once the ball is further up the pitch Kane finds himself too far away from the game and leaving us with no central target player up front.

What was obvious from Ollie Watkins' substitute appearance against Denmark was that he would bring a completely different dynamic to the team. Watkins almost scored with a run in behind the defence within a couple of minutes of being on the pitch and his energy in the high press caused the opposition several problems. This is a stark contrast to what Kane has been able to offer the team. Kane has been immobile, not provided any sort of lead in the press and generally been wasteful with the ball.


As a player who has just finished his most successful season so far, scoring and assisting a hatful of goals at the top level, it will be incredibly frustrating to have to sit and watch the lack of attacking intent on the pitch. Southgate needs to be brave and if the performances in forward areas continue to disappoint, he must be willing to make changes earlier to impact the game. Last night's game was really calling for Anthony Gordon to play and he was only brought on in the 90th minute. He also made an immediate impact by creating England's best chance of the game.

England are likely to face Netherlands in the Round of 16 on Sunday, but their opponents will be confirmed after tonight's Group E and F matches are complete.

The fans will be hoping for a much better performance and will hope Gareth Southgate uses the next few days to re-assess his options.