Graeme Souness points the finger at two England players after World Cup elimination

Full blast: Graeme Souness didn’t hold back after England were dumped out of the World Cup
Full blast: Graeme Souness didn’t hold back after England were dumped out of the World Cup

Graeme Souness pointed the finger of blame at midfielders Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard following England’s semi-final defeat as he let rip on TV.

The Scot was critical of the pair as well as their coach Gareth Southgate after Croatia came from behind to break English hearts.

A pundit on beIN Sport, Souness suggested Alli and Lingard were the ‘weak links’ in a team that lost control of the game.

READ MORE: England player ratings after heartbreaking Croatia loss

READ MORE: Five things we learned from England 1-2 Croatia

READ MORE: England’s players console their fans as dream comes to an end

His comments are the most savage yet following an otherwise sympathetic reaction to the Three Lions’ World Cup exit.

“I want to emphasise the midfield,” Souness said. “You can’t win the big trophies, you can’t dominate football matches, you can’t put yourself in a position where you are not giving the ball away unless you’ve got good players in midfield who can keep the ball.

Not to be: Harry Kane and England had a tough night in Moscow
Not to be: Harry Kane and England had a tough night in Moscow

“I come back to Lingard and Dele Alli – two players who want to get on the end of things after there has been clever play by somebody else.

“They don’t want to get involved in keeping the ball and dominating possession. They want to be involved in scoring the goals and getting on the end of things.”

Souness added: “The make-up of the team was all wrong, all wrong.

“When they come up against a decent team, I think it’s inevitable that they were going to struggle tonight.

“Let me explain. They played the worst team in the tournament in Panama. They played, along with Saudi Arabia, probably the second worst team in the tournament, Tunisia. Put a line through the Belgium game, that doesn’t count.

“Then they play Colombia and in the second half, Colombia were much better than them. England came back in extra-time but only after a Colombia player hit the crossbar. They get through on penalties.

READ MORE: It doesn’t matter that football didn’t come home – it was the feeling that it might

READ MORE: England stars consoled by WAGs and families

READ MORE: How the papers reacted to England’s exit

“Then they play a team in Sweden who were in awe of England. Both played a similar sort of game; long ball and feed off the bits.

“It was the first time, other than the Belgium game, that they have come up against a team who wants to pop it around and keep possession – and they really, really were shown up for being a back-to-front team playing very basic football.”