February 4, 2023

‘I couldn’t believe Gareth took him off’: Jamie Redknapp slams Southgate’s ‘really strange substitution’ with England boss replacing danger man Bukayo Saka with Raheem Sterling ONE MINUTE after France took the lead

Jamie Redknapp has said he ‘couldn’t believe’ the decision to withdraw Bukayo Saka a minute after France retook the lead in Saturday’s quarter-final.

Aurelien Tchouameni’s goal was canceled out by Harry Kane’s effort from the spot after Saka was brought down by the French goalscorer. While England pressed on, the world champion Olivier Giroud struck.

England looked to beat France ahead of their second, with Saka in particular finding joy on the left side against Theo Hernandez.

Bukayo Saka seemed to have Theo Hernandez behind him for much of the match before being substituted

Bukayo Saka seemed to have Theo Hernandez behind him for much of the match before being substituted

Gareth Southgate was then called into question when he decided to withdraw the Arsenal striker immediately after France scored – not least by Redknapp himself.

“He couldn’t handle Saka. Just couldn’t handle it. He was too much for Hernandez the entire game. And I have to admit, looking at it now, I couldn’t believe Gareth knocked him out.

“Because even if we’d scored a goal and we’d gone into extra time, he was the player who every time – he was the player who, when we got the ball to him, put me on the edge of my seat.

“I thought that was a very strange decision. Obviously you have to make substitutions to try to effect the game, but he was definitely someone I would have kept.

The England striker won a number of fouls and repeatedly came after Hernandez

The England striker won a number of fouls and repeatedly came after Hernandez

And I bet when Hernandez saw him leave, he breathed a deep sigh of relief. Because we kind of lost our way after that – yes, we had the (Marcus) Rashford free kick that sailed over the crossbar, but that was a very strange substitution.’

Saka’s went off in the same group of substitutions that Mason Mount came on for. The Chelsea playmaker, attempting to tackle a long ball from Jude Bellingham, was knocked over by Hernandez just minutes after his introduction.

After his protests were initially dismissed, play was halted as Brazil’s referee, Wilton Sampaio, was advised by VAR to check his monitor.

However, he started to get frustrated when the controversial Brazilian referee appeared to give him a number of fouls

However, he started to get frustrated when the controversial Brazilian referee appeared to give him a number of fouls

Once he did, he quickly realized he had made a mistake and corrected it. Unfortunately for England, Kane couldn’t match his penalty earlier in the half as it flew over.

Speaking to The Athletic afterwards, former England striker and captain Alan Shearer said Kane will never forget the moment he missed against France.

“Sometimes something happens and then sleep abandons you. Harry is an exceptional centre-forward, an exceptional player.

The Three Lions captain stepped up and fired his second penalty over Hugo Lloris' crossbar

The Three Lions captain stepped up and fired his second penalty over Hugo Lloris’ crossbar

“I know his position and I know his thinking and I know that this night and the next and a few more nights he will put his head on the pillow and he will blink and stare at the ceiling.

“He will relive his punishment over and over again. He’ll watch it again, he’ll take it again, and in his mind he’ll convince himself that this time he scores. And I promise you, it will stay with him forever.’

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