Harry Redknapp feels England’s 2-1 defeat by the Czech Republic in their Euro 2020 qualifier was a wake-up call.
Having kicked off Group A with four straight wins, the World Cup semi-finalists arrived in Prague knowing victory would seal qualification with three games to spare.
But England floundered as Harry Kane’s fifth-minute penalty proved a false dawn, with Jakub Brabec swiftly levelling and debutant Zdenek Ondrasek sealing a memorable victory for a Czech side smashed 5-0 at Wembley in March.
Former Tottenham and West Ham boss Redknapp believes the defeat showed Gareth Southgate’s side are a long way from the finished article.
With the Three Lions ponderous in midfield, Redknapp called for a creative player like James Maddison, who withdrew from the squad through illness, or Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish to come in and provide some flair.
“Obviously it was disappointing, but I think we all overhyped England last year,” Redknapp told PA news agency.
“I like Gareth Southgate and I think he’s doing a good job, but we came back from the World Cup as if we’d won it.
“We had the easiest draw in history, we played three hard games – Belgium twice and Croatia – and lost all three. We beat Tunisia with a last-minute goal and their star man couldn’t get in Leyton Orient’s team the year before.
“We’ve got some good young players coming through, but we’re not the finished article yet.
“I think we lack creativity in midfield and we have to be bolder. I’d like to see Grealish get in the squad, someone who could come in and really do something. Maddison is another.
“We need someone to supply the ammunition for Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling. That’s what we’re short of.”
Redknapp was speaking at a McDonald’s Fun Football Session where he helped deliver the 2,000,000th hour of the Fun Football programme, which is designed to encourage children to take their first steps into football.
“We want to encourage kids to take the game up and play with their friends with no pressure,” said Redknapp.
“Let them play, give them encouragement without coaches or parents screaming and shouting, and let them enjoy it.”
:: To sign up for a free session near you head to mcdonalds.co.uk/funfootball