“We’ve proved to ourselves and our country that is possible. Now we have a new benchmark.”
This is a quote from Gareth Southgate after England’s semi-final defeat in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. But what has actually achieved?
Let’s take a look at his managerial career. He took over at Middlesbrough in 2001 after being the club captain and led them to relegation from the Premier League.
He then led England U21s to last in their Euro 2015 group, only beating Sweden in the tournament.
By now the alarm bells should have been going off, but the geniuses at the FA thought he was the right man to lead England in the 2018 World Cup. If you looked at just the result (knocked out in semis), you’d probably think it was a success. But if you break down, I reckon he ultimately failed.
In the groups, they narrowly beat Tunisia thanks to a Harry Kane penalty in the last minute.
In fairness, they did put six past mighty Panama but then went on to get outplayed by Belgium in the final group game, losing that 1-0. They struggled to beat the Colombians in the round of 16 even though they were missing James Rodriguez – narrowly winning on penalties.
In the 1/4 finals, they beat a poor Sweden side, but sure they were a 5/6 shot on that game so that’s hardly an achievement. Eventually in the semis even after going A goal ahead they were FOUND OUT!
Croatia, a bit like the Belgians in the group stages, played them off the pitch with England’s only shot on target being the goal they scored. Croatia went on to win in extra time, and yet Southgate was lauded as a hero.
‘Sir’ Gareth’s teams don’t play good football and his tactics are very limited. This current England squad is full of really exciting young players and I can’t help to think that if they had a decent manager they could actually bring football home!
If you think what a really good coach could do with a front trio of Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane and Jadon Sancho, or with young talent like James Maddison, Mason Mount and Phil Foden it’s scary.
But, with Southgate, it should all end in tears when they eventually underachieve at the Euro 2020.
It seems like England haven’t been beaten in a qualifier since Gerry Francis last got a haircut, it’s actually 44 games unbeaten and this game will surely not see that run come to an end.
The rise of Raheem Sterling has been good to see, even if you are a Liverpool fan. He had so much talent even in his early days, but his final ball and finishing were awful. He’s now one of the best-attacking players in the world and is scoring at a rate of 0.7 per 90 minutes in this season’s Premier League.
He scored just two goals in his first 45 England games but has now gone on to score seven in his last seven.
He can rely on the great vision of Jadon Sancho to help him. The youngster got 14 assists in the Bundesliga last season and is definitely the real deal.
Southgate is supposedly football genius though, so he played Marcus Rashford instead of Sancho against Bulgaria and if the great Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can’t get Rashford to score, what hope has Gareth?
But, with all this talent England will create chances for Sterling, so get right on him to score first at 7/2! Southgate’s at the wheel!
* All odds correct at time of posting.