England coach Gareth Southgate is said to be devastated at the news that Dave Smith on Facebook is querying his wisdom in his penalty-takers following England’s heartbreaking loss to Italy at Wembley.
The Three Lions put up a stern defence throughout the tournament, conceding just twice in seven games, but it wasn’t enough as Roberto Mancini’s side fought back from an early deficit to claim the Euro 2020 crown, with Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka missing crucial kicks.
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And Smith, 47, a vociferous supporter over the last several weeks, is “seething” at the manager’s picks for the penalty shootout.
“Saka on the last pen!111!1”, he tapped out in the moments after the final kick.
“Clown – my gran would pick better and she’s dead 30 years lol”
And Smith went on to claim “Always said Southgate wasn’t up to it,” though a forensic scan of his posts revealed he’s called for a knighthood at least seven times during the tournament prior to the final.
This sudden about-face by and England die-hard fan can only bode ill for Southgate, who has admitted his squad may have been short when it mattered following the loss.
“Obviously, we were without Trent,” a sombre Southgate said in the moments after Bukayo Saka’s penalty was stopped.
“And Max Aarons, Luke Ayling, Jared Bogle, Tariq Lamptey.
“And Ashley Young, Gary Neville, Lee Dixon, Paul Parker and Viv Anderson.”
Indeed, the shortage of at least 15 possible right-back options left Southgate’s side dangerously exposed with the Italians exploiting it to the full.
“Naturally, I saw they’d not packed their team with right-backs” Roberto Mancini said.
“It’s a basic error. We couldn’t believe our luck really.”
England’s shortage of right-sided defensive options has seen the number of years without major tournament win extend to 55.
“I know they called it 30 years of hurt in the song, but the additional 25 years have made it more of dull numbness now,” Southgate said when asked about yet another major tournament disappointment.
“Winning at football is like a phantom limb for us now – we know we did it once, but it’s gone forever.
“Or like how Spurs fans feel every season.”
Questions will now be asked about the manager’s future plans, but Southgate was philosophical when discussing the outlook post-game.
“Obviously it’s a huge disappointment, but what will be will be. The Pizza Hut gig’s always there to fall back on and their new barbecue base with cheese-stuffed crust and dough balls for the kids is a delicious, smokey consolation.”
“And Spurs, Palace or Everton will be looking for new managers again in about three months if I move on.” he said.
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