Alan Shearer accused Gary Lineker of being afraid of criticism after he found plenty of positives in England’s 0-0 draw with Slovenia.

In a complete sea change from his verdict that England were ‘s***’ against Denmark – a comment that brought plenty of backlash from current stars – Lineker turned on the praise tap.  

Lineker believes England are ‘improving slightly’ and showed ‘energy’ in the second half against Slovenia, he told a boozy episode of his podcast The Rest Is Football

The former England star admitted to having downed three glasses of red wine prior to recording. 

He said: ‘I think there were signs in that performance that I quite liked. In the second half, I thought you could see that if this team continue to play a high press, chances will come.

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Sat with a glass of wine, Gary Lineker rowed back on his criticism of England - and was called out for it

Sat with a glass of wine, Gary Lineker rowed back on his criticism of England - and was called out for it

Sat with a glass of wine, Gary Lineker rowed back on his criticism of England – and was called out for it 

Alan Shearer suggested that Lineker was 'frightened of getting criticised again'

Alan Shearer suggested that Lineker was 'frightened of getting criticised again'

Alan Shearer suggested that Lineker was ‘frightened of getting criticised again’

[data-podcast-container] #embed-iframe-wrapper { min-height: 160px; } [data-podcast-container] header#podcast-container-header { transform: none !important; }

‘We may have been playing that way because Slovenia knew that a draw would get them through, so they were cautious and sat back a bit, I understand that.

‘But I saw enough to suggest that England are improving slightly. I think there were downsides, but I think there were real positives. 

‘I thought when Cole Palmer came on – and we’ve said this many times, we know we’ve got a lot of talented young players – but this kid might well be the best of the lot. 

‘We were still unbalanced on the left and it was a little baffling that he [Southgate] waited so long for Anthony Gordon to come on. Foden was playing there and switching with Bellingham and I don’t think thet helped either of them because they were neither here nor there. 

‘What I did see in the second half, trying to put a positive spin on it, was energy. I haven’t seen energy apart from the first half-hour of the first game in the other performances.

He added: There’s enough there in the second half just to make me think for the first time this England team has some energy.’ 

At that point, Shearer interjected to suggest that Lineker was cowering after being blasted for his comments about England after the draw with Denmark in their second group game. 

He said: ‘If I was a cynic, one would say one was frightened of getting criticised again.’ 

Harry Kane has hit back at the former England players criticising England's performances

Harry Kane has hit back at the former England players criticising England's performances

Harry Kane has hit back at the former England players criticising England’s performances

Jarrod Bowen was shocked at Lineker's criticism - and thought his podcast would be more PG

Jarrod Bowen was shocked at Lineker's criticism - and thought his podcast would be more PG

Jarrod Bowen was shocked at Lineker’s criticism – and thought his podcast would be more PG

Harry Kane previously hit back at Lineker for his criticism, saying: ‘I would never want to be disrespectful to any player, especially a player who has worn the shirt and knows what it is like to play for England.

‘But what ex-players who are pundits now have got to realise it is very hard not to listen to it now, especially for some players who are not used to it or some players who are new to the environment.

‘I always feel like they have a responsibility – I know they have got to be honest and give their opinion but also they have a responsibility of being an ex-England player.

‘The bottom line is we haven’t won anything as a nation for a long, long time and a lot of these players were part of that as well and they know how tough it is.

‘With podcasts and things like that people are trying to promote their own channels and sometimes the headline, because you want the most views, isn’t always what people want to see.

‘People will do things for their own gain, that’s just life, but first and foremost we try to ignore.

Jarrod Bowen had been left shocked by Lineker’s profanity. ‘‘I didn’t know it was as strong as that,’ he said. ‘I thought his podcast might be a little bit more PG. But they’re more than entitled to speak about the games. They’ve played for their country and they’ve played at a high level.’ 

Lineker denied that he was scared of getting criticised.

‘Me? Frightened of getting criticised? Never in my life,’ he said.

‘I’m telling it as I see it and I was seeing it during the second half. I thought the first half was really dreadful and again no high press, occasionally a couple of little bits that were really poor, I didn’t like the team selection, I thought it was incredibly conservative.’

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