Andy Cole: ‘I don’t see there being any changes for England against Holland’

 | Tuesday 9th July 2024, 8:37am

Tuesday 9th July 2024, 8:37am

Andy cole footy 1

As the discussion regarding Gareth Southgate’s team selection for England continues to ramble on, it’s still unsure if any changes are expected to be made to the line-up ahead of Wednesday’s Euro 2024 semi-final against Holland. Former England international Andy Cole believes that Gareth Southgate has “made his mind up” about his preferred team and doesn’t expect any changes to be made. Speaking to Betfred, Cole further discussed the potential transfers of Dutch duo Matthijs de Ligt and Joshua Zirkzee to Manchester United, Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s return to Old Trafford and rumours suggesting that Anthony Gordon has had his head turned by speculation linking him with a move to Liverpool.

Euro 2024 Betting Tips: 

  • England to win Euro 2024 @ 5/2
  • England to beat Holland (Euro 2024 Semi-Final) @ 13/8

Ahead of England’s Euro 2024 semi-final on Wednesday, what changes would you make to the line-up going into the game against Holland?

“Nothing’s going to change. I think Gareth’s made his mind up about what team he’s going to play and what system he’s going to play. I can’t see there being any changes.”

What’s your prediction for Wednesday’s semi-final? 

“I’ve got to be very, very honest, but nobody knows what can happen because England have barely kicked a ball yet and they’ve got themselves to a semi-final, so you just don’t know. I don’t know what the consensus was after the game on Saturday, whether people believed England deserved to go through or whether Switzerland were the better team. In semi-finals, anything can happen. I thought Holland played very well against Romania in the round of 16, but if England can win the tournament, then they’re good enough to win it. If they don’t win it, then that means they’re not good enough to win it. It’s as simple as that.”

What are your thoughts on Luke Shaw going to Euro 2024 with England whilst injured initially? Thinking back to the days of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, how do you believe he would have reacted to one of his players being taken away on international duty whilst injured?

“For as long as I’ve watched England, they’ve always done that. They’ve always taken rookies that have barely kicked a ball during the tournament and it’s said that they’ve been taken for experience. You’re not getting much experience if you’re just sitting there watching it. On a similar note, they’ve taken players that have been injured too and this time it was Luke’s opportunity to go. 

“He’s been injured for some time, but behind the scenes he would have been working extremely hard and trying to get himself fit. He’s gone away with England, worked hard behind the scenes to get himself match fit and he was able to get onto the pitch against Switzerland. Fair play to him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he played against Holland on Wednesday and as a natural left-footer, he will give England that balance that everybody keeps talking about because Kieran Trippier is naturally right-footed, even though I believe he’s done well in that position for England. 

“It’s not for us to worry about Luke getting injured because he’s got himself back fit enough to play and no doubt he will stay fit. He won’t have much time off after the tournament and he will come back to Manchester United fit because he’s been half doing a pre-season just to get fit for England because he’s been injured. He will be fine.”

With Ruud van Nistelrooy set to return to the club as an assistant to Erik ten Hag, do you believe he’s the perfect example for Rasmus Højlund to learn from?

“Ruud’s a good guy and his managerial career has gone very well so far. Ruud can help anybody improve. I’ve always thought really highly of him because he’s a fantastic goalscorer and I think with him going into the club, he will be a big plus for any of the attacking players there.” 

The rumours suggesting Bayern Munich’s Matthijs de Ligt could move to Old Trafford this summer continue to intensify. We know that you’ve previously questioned why he’s moved clubs often over the past five years but as he’s still 24 years old, if Manchester United could secure his signature for a reasonable fee, then do you believe it’s a risk worth taking for your former club and do believe working under Erik ten Hag again can help Matthijs recapture his very best form?

“I’m not saying it’s a risk because I don’t believe that it is a risk. He’s still a baby, he’s 24. I’ve just read about the petition that a number of Bayern Munich fans have signed requesting for him to not be sold, so he’s obviously a good player and if Manchester United signs him, then he’ll make them stronger in terms of competition for places. However, if he does sign for Manchester United, then he will be one of the first-choice centre-backs.”

Reports suggest that a deal for De Ligt is completely independent of their pursuit of Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite. Do you believe Manchester United should pay anywhere near £70 million for Branthwaite? Do you believe he has the potential to become one of the Premier League’s very best defenders?

“Ultimately, if Everton want £70 million and Manchester United want to pay £70 million, then that’s exactly what he’s worth. It’s as simple as that. He’s a very talented left-sided centre-back and there’s not many of them around. He did a very, very good job for Everton last season and he’s a player that will definitely improve. Most probably, in years to come, he will be an England centre-back for a few years also. He’s definitely a centre-back for the future, he did very well helping Everton stay up last season and he’s got a big future ahead of him.’

Regardless of who comes in defensively, do you believe Manchester United should keep a hold of Harry Maguire this summer? The Mirror have reported that he could be set to leave Old Trafford. 

“I really like Harry and I like him even more because when everybody was dogging him, he kept his head down and got on with things. Before he got injured, he was one of Manchester United’s better players last season, so that tells you everything you need to know about his mentality and his attitude. He lost the captaincy and didn’t moan and groan about it, he just kept his head down, worked very hard to get himself back in the team and his performances spoke volumes.

“If he stays, I have no doubts he will do the same. He will get his head down, bide his time and get himself back in the team. I really like his attitude. It’s been absolutely fantastic and he’s always given 100% when he’s played for Manchester United.”

Another transfer that’s beginning to look more likely for Manchester United is the signing of Bologna striker Joshua Zirkzee. Would you prefer your former club to sign a more experienced striker to work alongside Rasmus Højlund bearing in mind that Zirkzee is just 23 years old?

“As he’s still a young player, then ultimately he’s the club's future. He will need time to settle in and adapt to the Premier League. The Premier League is a tough league, but the good thing now is that Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s there and he will have the opportunity to work with both Rasmus and Joshua. He will help them understand what the Premier League’s all about, even though Rasmus already half understands what the Premier League is all about. 

“Bringing in another young centre-forward and then bringing in Ruud van Nistelrooy to help the pair of them, then it’s a positive in the long-term. Ruud was a fantastic centre-forward and I do believe it’s a positive deal for the club. Ruud would help any striker.”

Adrien Rabiot, who’s been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford over the past few years, could leave Juventus this summer after his contract expired at the end of June. How greatly do you rate him as a midfielder and if he’s available on a free transfer, do you believe Manchester United should pursue a move for him this summer?

“I remember watching him when he was a kid at Manchester City. He’s the same age as my son and they were both at the club at the same time. I could tell that he had something about him and was very talented. If the opportunity came around to sign him on a free, then why wouldn’t you consider it? 

“He’s done very well for Juventus, he’s a mainstay in the French national team and it’s not easy to get in that side because of some of the midfielders they have. I think he’s a really good player and he would definitely improve what Manchester United have. Thinking long-term again, he would make Manchester United a better team and I wouldn’t turn my nose up at it if you can get him on a free. He’s a good player.”

Fulham are reportedly leading the race to sign Scott McTominay this summer with João Palhinha set for Bayern Munich. Do you believe Scott would excel at Fulham if this move was to happen and would you be sad to see him leave Old Trafford?

“That decision will be down to Scott and Manchester United. I like Scott and anytime he’s got himself in the team, he’s been fantastic for them because he scores goals, brings a lot of energy, gets around the pitch and for me, he’s another player that never lets Manchester United down. 

“It’s not for me to say that he will be the main man for Fulham because the move may not even happen. That decision is for Scott and his team to make. Everything right now is just speculation.”

Despite struggles with injury in his debut campaign at Old Trafford, do you believe Mason Mount will have a more prominent role at Manchester United next season if he can keep himself fit?

“I genuinely believe so. When you move clubs, nobody knows how things are going to go. If you pick up injuries and niggly injuries during the season, then it does take a bit of time to adapt. The manager brought him to the club because he thought that Mason could bring something else to the team. Injuries have meant that his gametime has been limited.”

And finally on Manchester United, if the decision was yours would you keep a hold of Casemiro this summer?

“What it all depends on is what they have in midfield and what they’re looking to do either transferwise or whatever. For me, Casemiro can’t become a bad player overnight. Yes, with age things can become a little bit harder. I totally understand that. With all the Champions Leagues and La Liga titles he’s won, you can’t do that without being top, top drawer. He was fantastic during his first season and the second season didn’t go as well as he would have liked, but that’s football. No doubts Casemiro will learn from that and I think he will be okay due to the quality and determination he has.”

The Telegraph have claimed that Anthony Gordon has had his head turned by Liverpool’s interest in him. Do you expect Anthony to push for the move or do you expect him to move past it, get his head down and reproduce last season’s form for Newcastle in their upcoming Premier League campaign?

“I’d be very surprised if Newcastle United were even thinking about selling him. I know there’s all this talk about Financial Fair Play, but Newcastle must have realised that they were going to be in that position and if they were in that position, then why would they look to sell one of their best players? I would find that astonishing. 

“If Gordon does push to move to Liverpool, then where would Liverpool play him? Liverpool would have to move somebody on to accommodate him. From the outside looking in, it’s a bit of a crazy one if there’s any truth behind the speculation.”

Anthony Elanga is heavily linked with a move to St James’ Park. Do you believe we’re currently seeing him fulfill his potential after he left Manchester United for Nottingham Forest last summer?

“It would be a good move to be fair. Since he left Manchester United, he’s got his head down and had a very good first season at Nottingham Forest in a team that struggled in their second season back in the Premier League. In the games I watched him play in for Nottingham Forest, I saw him bring something else because he has that pace, he’s very direct and he can pick people out in the box. If that move does happen, then he could be a good replacement for Anthony Gordon if he moves on. He’s young, still learning and very enthusiastic. You never know what could happen but I do like him and if it does happen, it would be a good move for Newcastle.”


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