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England Under-21s wrapped up their nightmare Euro 2019 campaign with a 3-3 draw against Croatia to exit the tournament without a win.

Wayne Rooney insists England should stick to their style of play

Wayne Rooney says goodbye to England with 120 caps
Wayne Rooney says goodbye to England with 120 caps

Wayne Rooney believes England risk "starting from scratch" if they do not persevere with playing out from defence.

Gareth Southgate's side saw their Nations League ambitions ended by Holland at the semi-final stage on Thursday after being punished for risky play at the back from John Stones and Ross Barkley.

Despite the 3-1 extra-time loss in Portugal, former England captain Rooney has urged Southgate not to ditch his current tactics.

"I think that's where England have got a lot better, playing out from the back and having more possession of the ball than we have had in recent times," the 33-year-old told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme.

"I'd encourage them to keep playing. Mistakes were made and we lost the game but I'm sure those mistakes won't happen again. And if they do and that's the way the manager wants to play then I'm sure the manager will take responsibility and encourage them to keep doing it.

"You can't have a manager saying we want to play out from the back but then you make a mistake and he slaughters you for it. Players can't go 90 minutes, week in, week out, without making mistakes.

"If I was in Gareth's position, I would keep encouraging them to keep doing what they are doing and keep progressing because if you throw the blueprint out of the window now then you're almost starting from scratch again."

The 3-1 loss to Ronald Koeman's side in Guimaraes means England face Switzerland in a third-place play-off on Sunday.

Southgate has guided the team to the last four in successive tournaments following last summer's memorable run to the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia.

Former Manchester United and Everton player Rooney, who scored a record 53 goals in 120 appearances for his country, thinks England are on course to be one of the favourites to win Euro 2020.

"With England the future is bright," continued Rooney, who currently plays for MLS club DC United. "I said after Euro 2016, we've got some fantastic quality and I didn't expect them to get to the semi-final in the next World Cup but that will certainly give them a boost going into the next tournament.

"I think keep progressing the way they are then they'll be one of the favourites for the next tournament. I think over the last 12 months, they've made huge strides in terms of getting to the semi-final, and obviously everyone was disappointed not to go through but the team has got a lot of young players in it. I think the defeat against Holland will help them in the long run."


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Most Read Football

Get all the football gossip from the National Papers1

Paper Talk: PSG Pogba swap?

PSG have approached Manchester United about the possibility of directly swapping Neymar for Paul Pogba according to one of Tuesday's UK newspapers.

A complete list of every completed summer 2019 transfer window deal2

Transfer Window: Done Deals

Get all the complete signings in the summer 2019 football transfer window from the Premier League, Sky Bet EFL and Europe.

Jose Mourinho3

Who next for Newcastle?

Newcastle are on the hunt for a new manager after the news of Rafa Benitez's departure. We take a look at the contenders.

The latest rumour and gossip from the back pages4

Paper Talk: Ole wants £63m man

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made a personal plea to Ed Woodward for the club to 'speed up' a deal for Sporting's Bruno Fernandes, according to the back pages.

England's Jonjoe Kenny celebrates5

WATCH: Kenny stunner not enough

England Under-21s wrapped up their nightmare Euro 2019 campaign with a 3-3 draw against Croatia to exit the tournament without a win.

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