England View – Marc Iles

AS Gareth Southgate rued the absence of Kalvin Phillips with the air of a man who knew what tomorrow’s headlines would be, all that was missing was a rain cloud and someone booming out “Things Can Only Get Better” down the road on a giant stereo.

In almost every interview I have heard from the England boss at the Euros, he has referenced the likelihood of push-back, or negativity in the home media.

In fact, in the build-up to the Denmark game, he actively addressed the issues of “narrative” around certain players and how it differs from the pressures they feel at their clubs.

He is quite right, of course, and that is why playing international football at a major tournament is not comparable with turning out for Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool or Arsenal in the Premier League. You are literally the only show in town, and if there is a weakness it will be discussed and ruminated until there is another distraction.

It is very rare for Southgate, who has been down this road before as a player, to chuck out a line like the one he did with Phillips. He’s too smart not to realise that would go off like a hand grenade back home.

It makes no sense at all to complain about the absence of a player who hadn’t played for Manchester City in 12 months and really struggled on loan at West Ham. That gave him nearly two years to either switch systems or ‘experiment’ with someone like Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Doing so two games into the group stage of the European Championship is simply not in character for a manager who has always struck me as a careful planner.

I am sure elsewhere in this column that Elliott is banging the Blackburn drum for Adam Wharton, and with good reason. What he and Mainoo must have thought when their manager started to yearn for yesteryear is anyone’s guess.

Southgate has to snap out of it, England have to snap out of it, because no lasting damage has been done. Yet.

There is no point hanging blame on Alexander-Arnold, who simply should not have been expected to learn on the job. Other players know they have played within themselves, so this is not simply just a case of an over-cautious manager, or his directives from the touchline. Responsibility has to be shared around the whole group.

But some sacrifices must be made now if the team is to have any chance of making the latter stages of the tournament. A certain amount of humble pie is about to be consumed. Southgate cannot allow what would surely be his last big hurrah as England manager to end with that kind of meek performance, given the pride he has restored in his time.

England View – Dan Barnes

IT seems absolutely bonkers to question if England’s all-time leading goalscorer might be holding the team back – yet something clearly isn’t working.

Things started so well against Denmark as Kane reacted quickest to slot home after some good work by Kyle Walker on the right.

But Gareth Southgate’s side were extremely negative after the goal and the Bayern Munich talisman seemed to be playing more like a central midfielder. Every time they won back possession, there was no outlet to progress up the pitch.

England never really responded after Morten Hjulmand’s equaliser. The only glimmer of hope was in the second half when Ollie Watkins came off the bench – his runs in behind at least giving the Danes something to stress about.

Going forward, can Kane play in a deeper role behind Watkins? It seems like an exciting option, on paper, but would require Southgate to drop Jude Bellingham into a deeper midfield role alongside Declan Rice – something I can’t see happening after his display against Serbia.

There is also an argument that Phil Foden should be playing in the number 10 role, having consistently drifted inside from the left against the Danes.

Nobody is doubting Kane’s ability. He has now scored a staggering 50 goals for club and country since the start of the campaign, making a seamless transition to the Bundesliga despite playing in a side that finished behind Leverkusen and Stuttgart.

But something clearly needs to change and the decision to leave Marcus Rashford out of the squad is starting to look like a costly one.

While he didn’t have the best of seasons for Manchester United, Rashford’s lightning pace running beyond Kane would certainly cause defenders more problems than the tame approach so far.

Ivan Toney is also an option. He’s obviously a talented player but still playing catch-up after his lengthy ban, failing to score in Brentford’s last 12 Premier League games.

TV view - Elliott Jackson

After watching that meek display from England, the whole country was feeling rather glum.

Fortunately, Spain against Italy provided a football and spiritual cleanse.

It was a far more compelling watch, with the Spanish showing England how to get from A to B and what a functional midfield should look like. Over the two matchdays so far, they have been the team that has impressed me most.

What's different about this Spanish team is the direct wide players they have. In years gone by it would often be by talented playmakers in the mould of Dani Olmo, Pablo Sarabia or even Andreas Iniesta, going back further.

With this latest crop, they have pace and trickery on the flanks to balance the control and craft they boast in midfield. Nico Williams used Giovanni Di Lorenzo as a dribbling cone for much of the game; it was as one-sided a 1-0 win as you'll see.

What made it even more enjoyable was the fantastic commentary duo of Clive Tyldesley and Ally McCost. Back together again.

Tyldesley particularly resonates with me, growing up watching the UEFA Champions League on ITV, free-to-air TV. Ah, those were the days.

McCoist has long established himself as one of the nation's favourites on co-comms too. The pair of them together, coupled with the quality of the Spanish provided a mental reset after the frustrations of the Three Lions.

Tyldesley has been used sparingly by ITV since Sam Matterface replaced him as number one for England coverage. I like the latter, I think he gets a bit of unnecessary heat, but find him more enjoyable on TalkSPORT with radio commentary. It's a very different skill, I find.

There is something quite warm and nostalgic about Tyldersley's voice, whether it's re-runs of 'ROOOOOOOOONEY' that often crop up on social media or the quick wit and gags with McCoist.

More of that, please, ITV.