‘He let England down’ – Rio Ferdinand reveals the big mistake Gareth Southgate made in defeat to France

Former England defender Rio Ferdinand has claimed that Gareth Southgate let England down during the 2-1 quarter-final defeat to France in the World Cup.

Speaking on the Vibe with Five YouTube channel, Ferdinand said: “Our substitutions is where I think Gareth Southgate let us down.

“I think he’s been pitch-perfect, touch-perfect in almost every decision he’s made up to this point, but you get into a game like yesterday where this is really where it matters now, and I think Gareth Southgate came up short in the tactical element in terms of substitutions.

“That’s part of tactics, making substitutions, and in-game management and deciding games with substitutions at the business end of a tournament, I think he would hold his hands up maybe in retrospect.

“I threw a text in the group, and I stand by this: Gareth, in the moment, wasn’t proactive with his substitutions, he was reactive.

“It hit 1-1 and we’re sitting there going “take the bull by the horns, make a substitution, get us on the front foot”. You’ve got Rashford, you’ve got Grealish who can go on, get us on the front foot and change this game.

“You’re sitting there going, “It’s too late, man”. You’ve got to do this when we’ve got the chance of still winning this game and taking the game from them.”

Despite Southgate’s shortcomings, Ferdinand has backed the him to continue as England manager.

“I think, if I am Gareth Southgate, I can not leave this story,’ Ferdinand added. ‘This story hasn’t had an ending yet that works for me, if I’m Gareth Southgate.

“I see a list of the players, the age range of these players, the profile of the players he has at his disposal, it’s the stuff of dreams. You’ve got a… set of players here who, if you get it right, can go on to win things.

“They have to be able to win things with these players, it’s an unbelievable collection of players, but he has to say to himself: “Am I the man to manage them and navigate them through this period and to get the best out of these players?”.

“Now at the moment he hasn’t done that because he hasn’t won it, and he has to make that decision – we can’t make that decision for him.”