Jarrod Bowen warns radical England change would be 'naïve' ahead of Slovenia clash

Jarrod Bowen warns radical England change would be 'naïve' ahead of Slovenia clash

Jarrod Bowen says he has no problem with Gary Lineker labelling England “s***” following their dismal performance against Denmark, but insisted those calling for Gareth Southgate to go all-out attack against Slovenia this week are “naive”.

Southgate’s side have come in for heavy criticism following the 1-1 draw in Frankfurt, which came hot on the heels of a similarly unconvincing display in the 1-0 win over Serbia last weekend.

Former England striker Lineker was presenting the BBC’s coverage of the Denmark clash and took the unusual step of singling out goalscorer Harry Kane for an otherwise sub-par display during the live broadcast.

The 63-year-old then continued his attack on the collective performance on his Rest Is Football podcast, saying: “I mean, you can think of all sorts of words and expletives if you like, but it was s***.”

“I didn’t know it was as strong as that!” Bowen said, when asked about the comment here in Blankenhain on Saturday. “I thought his podcast might be a little bit more PG.

“I didn’t know he said that. But again, they’re more than entitled to speak about the games. They’ve played for their country, they’ve played at a high level, so they debrief and speak about the games.

“It’s a major competition for our country. It’s got everyone speaking.”

Southgate revealed earlier this week that he has spoken to his players about dealing with the increased scrutiny on their England displays, with a dozen players in his squad experiencing the cauldron of a major international tournament for the first time.

Bowen is among them, but it choosing not to indulge in social media during the tournament and insists the negative aftermath to the Denmark game does not tally with England’s strong position at the top of Group C, with qualification for the last-16 already all-but guaranteed.

“For myself on socials, I only saw when I first got into the squad and there were a lot of eyebrows raised,” the West Ham forward said. “For me that was one thing to go: ‘Right, I’m not going to have a look any more’.

“There’s a lot of noise, a lot of uproar, as if we’re sat here with two defeats and bottom of the table. But the reality is we’re top of the table with lots of confidence going into the last group game where we know we need to win. We look forward to that challenge on Tuesday night.”

England travel to Cologne to meet Slovenia in their final group game, knowing a win will secure top spot and a last-16 fixture against a third-placed team.

After two flat attacking displays there are calls for Southgate to shake-up both his forward line and his midfield. In particular, the 53-year-old has been blamed for his side’s tendency to sit off after taking the lead in matches and he is once again fielding accusations over being unduly cautious in his approach.

Gareth Southgate has been urged to go on the attack with England (Getty Images)
Gareth Southgate has been urged to go on the attack with England (Getty Images)

There are similarities with the criticism of David Moyes during his time at West Ham, when the Scot was regularly labelled accused of being negative in his set-up and pilloried for failing to make the most of the Hammers’s attacking talent.

However, in both cases Bowen believes those who have called for the handbrake to be released are missing the point.

“Both managers [Moyes and Southgate] that I’ve had have been really solid without the ball and I think that’s the best thing,” Bowen said. “If you don’t concede the goals - and I’m talking about West Ham and here as well - with our attacking players, you know we can win the game.

“At West Ham it was always frustrating. Do you want to try to win the game 6-5? It might be good for spectators but for players it’s not as nice.

“I said it when David Moyes was manager as well - we were so good without the ball, with the goals that we scored and the games we used to win, playing that way - it worked. So for me, yeah, it’s very naive.”