Talking points as England look to end 2021/22 season in style against Hungary

The Three Lions have taken just two points from their opening three Nations League games, including a shock defeat in Budapest.

By Press Association Published: 13 June 2022 - 6.43pm

England’s fourth and final Nations League fixture of the month takes place on Tuesday night with Hungary the visitors to Molinuex.

The Three Lions sit bottom of Group A3 having taken just two points from their opening three games, including a surprise loss in Budapest.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the key talking points ahead of the clash.

Kane needs the rest to show they are able

Manager Gareth Southgate admitted it is a “concern” how much his team were reliant on the goals of captain Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling.

Tottenham striker Kane reached his half-century with a late penalty to rescue a 1-1 draw in Germany last week – England’s only goal across their previous three fixtures.

He is now just three shy of Wayne Rooney’s all-time record and will be keen to edge even closer to moving clear of the former skipper by leading England to their first win of the summer.

Staying alive

England Training and Press Conference – Sir Jack Hayward Training Ground – Monday 13th June
The ambition of qualifying for next summer’s Nations League finals remains for Gareth Southgate (Nick Potts/PA)

Southgate has used the current break to take a look at some options, knowing he has limited opportunities to do so before the World Cup kicks off in Qatar.

Altering shapes and systems, as well as personnel, have arguably affected England’s chances of picking up victories.

But the ambition of qualifying for next summer’s Nations League finals remains and Southgate knows that winning is now the priority this time around.

Will Hungary supporters jeer the knee?

Hungary v England – UEFA Nations League – Group A3 – Puskas Arena
England players were booed when taking the knee in Budapest (Nick Potts/PA)

The sound of a 35,000 crowd – consisting largely of school children – booing England players as they took the knee ahead of the reverse fixture was a sorry one.

Hungary were serving a stadium ban following racist and homophobic behaviour from their fans during Euro 2020.

But, as per UEFA rules, the hosts were allowed to invite an unlimited number of under-14s, with those inside the Puskas Arena heard jeering England’s anti-racism gesture.

Southgate labelled the act “inherited thinking” and there will be concerns their fans at Molineux will follow suit.

England to get their Phil?

Phil Foden was voted as the Professional Footballers’ Association’s young player of the year for a second successive season but has been unable to turn out for England so far during this break.

The 22-year-old is battling back to fitness having tested positive for coronavirus after meeting up with his England team-mates at St George’s Park.

He is back in training and Southgate will be keen for him to play some part against Hungary as he strives to find his ideal attacking line-up heading into the winter.

The long goodbye to 2021/22

Leicester City v Manchester City – FA Community Shield – Wembley Stadium
The Community Shield kicked off the 2021/22 season on August 7 last year (Nick Potts/PA)

The Community Shield, the traditional opener to the Premier League season, was played on August 7, 2021.

Some 311 days later and this Nations League fixture brings down the curtain on a mammoth campaign, with questions over the stress and strain put on the players.

Most of the England squad will have around three weeks off before returning to pre-season training for the 2022/23 term – a campaign which also includes the World Cup in Qatar.

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