Gareth Southgate is a manager that will divide opinions all day. One day he produces a masterclass of a performance to prove his footballing genius. The next day his sides go out and put up an abysmal showing making us question the manager’s tactics.
England have experienced both sides of the coin under Southgate at the Euros in just two matches. The eternal debate of should Southgate be sacked is back again.
Our second game of #EURO2020 ends in a draw.
Well played, @ScotlandNT.
— England (@England) June 18, 2021
Southgate took over England in a difficult period. The team was kicked out of Euro 2016 by minnows Iceland in a humiliating way. Southgate who has impressed with the young Lions earlier was given the chance.
After earning rave reviews as an interim coach his job was made permanent. He led them to the 2018 World Cup and had a great run to the semis. It was finally believed that Southgate was the man to lead them to glory once again.
Not many people have the chance to right their wrongs. Southgate during his playing days missed a penalty that sent England home from the semis at 1996 Euro. He was given a chance to redeem himself by winning the title with the Three Lions as a manager. Southgate also assembled a world-class squad and they’re one of the favourites at the tournament.
Despite all these positives, Southgate suddenly throws out a glaring negative. His management is shaky sometimes. His big-game approach is baffling at times. Be it the starting eleven or the tactics it feels like England hold themselves back on the biggest stage sometimes.
Yesterday’s performance at Wembley against eternal foes Scotland stunned the world. Questions are being asked on Southgate’s ability to coach those attacking stars. We try to explain why Southgate needs to go if England are to reach their full potential.
THE PRAGMATIC APPROACH
The end justifies the means. A great saying that and it probably might be Southagate’s favorite one. The English manager prioritizes wins and doesn’t matter how they win. He sets the English team to defend all game and go forward once when the chance arrives. One goal might be enough to win the game if it works out perfectly. England have naughtily earned the tag “the 1-0 specialists”.
Southgate’s use of inverted FBs today was excellent. Goal comes from:
🔘 Walker inverted drawing pressure from Perisic
🔘 Opens pocket for Phillips to run into
🔘 Kane off the line opens space for sterling run from out to in
Excellent tactics, football’s coming home. ⚽️▶️ 🏠 pic.twitter.com/8ezep6cLyt
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) June 13, 2021
You might excuse Southgate for taking a win by hook or crook. When you look at the actual firepower he possesses it’d be criminal not to bat an eye. England have some of the best forwards in the world right now. Harry Kane was in a league of his own as he scored 23 goals and assisted 14 times in the Premier League.
In England’s opener against Croatia, he was deployed as a decoy forward. England’s attacking went through Raheem Sterling and Kane had an awfully quiet game.
It’s part of Southgates approach to big games. This sort of setup has seen him suffer reverses against the likes of Spain and Belgium in the past. He faces a huge challenge this time at the Euros. Their first knock-out game might pit them against Portugal or France.
A team like England has to be attacking. There are no two ways about it and Southgate must be bold in his approach.
Southgate’s team selection puzzles footballing folks. In the game against Croatia, England had two specialist left-backs but Southgate ended up choosing Kieran Trippier, a right-back over them. It was forgiven as Egland ended up winning the game. Had things gone sideways he would have been put under the microscope again.
He has mysteriously omitted Jadon Sancho from the squad altogether for the opener. It was later explained that Sancho’s poor performance in the pre-match games was the reason why he was dropped. It’s hard to make sense of that explanation as players like Sancho can change matches in a moment.
Jadon Sancho had 36 goal contributions in 38 games for Dortmund this season.
He's yet to play a single second for England at the EUROs 🤔 pic.twitter.com/e0A9ITPGv5
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 19, 2021
Sancho returned to the squad for the game against Scotland but was benched. An underperforming Sterling who scored in the first game kept his spot. Even when England were drawing the game Southgate didn’t trust Sancho. He only made two changes by bringing on Jack Grealish and Marcus Rashford. It’s sad to see the English men play for a point yesterday night.
Sancho, Grealish, and Rashford are starters in their own right. Southgate simply has no response on how to fit them all in the same squad.
SHOULD NOT WASTE ANOTHER GOLDEN GENERATION
England have massively underperformed at the major tournaments in the past. The so-called Golden Generation had the likes of David Beckham, Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, and Frank Lampard but failed to win anything under Sven-Goran Eriksson.
🔥 44 Premier League titles
🏆 9 UEFA Champions League titles
🏴 0 international titles
The 'Golden Generation' of England had it all to win it 😔 pic.twitter.com/doUDBHFRDk
— GiveMeSport (@GiveMeSport) June 11, 2021
Now they have assembled another set of heroes. Their squad is brimming with talents and is a mix of youth and experience. They should not waste their potential under a defensive manager like Gareth Southgate.
The FA have no plans to sack Southgate even if they fail at the Euros. They trust in him and his project for the 2022 World Cup. But a couple of performances like the one against Scotland might force them into a rethink. A decision has to be taken in the favor of the national team.