Anthony Gordon tops the England Clamour list in the F365 Mailbox

Editor F365
England players generating some clamour.
England players generating some clamour.

We know that England are only going to bring in Conor Gallagher but fans in the Mailbox would like to see Anthony Gordon and Adam Wharton.

Watch the game and send your views to


Turning on Gareth after this debacle
I’m a long-time Southgate defender. I have biases as a USian, and the one in play here is that I would worship anybody that got the USA to a World Cup semi-final during my lifetime. But I’ve just about changed my mind on ol’ Gare. The US scored only two in their victory over Bolivia on Sunday, but we created an absolute ton of chances, and we’re managed by Gregg Berhalter, ffs.

Say what you will about his strategic and tactical rigidity and in-match passivity – these are significant faults – but as far as I can tell, Gareth Southgate’s single biggest Euro 2024 failure has been his squad selection. Selecting Luke Shaw was a wildly credulous decision from such a conservative manager. Lewis frigging Hall would have been a better call-up. I don’t expect Shaw’s best if we even him in this tournament. And what is the point of a Joe Gomez in this squad, not to mention a Lewis Dunk?

The same Gareth Southgate who stuck with Jordan Henderson long, long after he was a positive force on the pitch somehow decided that Trent Alexander-Arnold was a trustworthy midfielder shortly before the Euros, then relied on that decision to limit his own options. And to make matters worse, he selected players he evidently does not trust at all. Remarkable. (Let me give you a hint, Gary: that Gordon lad can be trusted to do anything you damn well tell him to.)

Southgate should have been thinking since last Thursday about how to win the final fixture and secure first in the group, which from my reading of the bracket offers the clearest path forward. Whether Gordon is a part of that plan or not, some trust is absolutely required on the manager’s part.

If Southgate won’t drop Bellingham into midfield, he’s going to have to replace TAA with either Stones, Trippier (no), or one of the actual midfielders he doesn’t trust (because Gallagher isn’t performing). Gordon, Mainoo, Watkins, and perhaps Toney and Konsa ought to have roles in this squad; if they don’t, what was the point of selecting them?

But perhaps Southgate is playing 4d chess, and having established a dominant position through two matches, will offer some dynamism when it counts. Watch while I hold my breath.
Chris C, Toon Army DC


England need to start taking risks
The tournament has been serving up pretty average football. Most games have been low-quality but the fan involvement has been tremendous, and the late goals make some games dramatic. (Just as the extreme added time in the Premier League this season led to many dramatic endings.) But that still doesn’t mean great quality football.

The passing has been dreadful. It’s hard to tell how much is due to tiredness, a lack of playing together, or poor play. At this point, Spain has been great, while all of the other contenders have shown flaws. Considering Spain was supposed to be in a tough group, that doesn’t bode well for the rest.

READ: Ten reasons why the nerds are wrong and Euro 2024 has been brilliant

I listened to the now-infamous Lineker podcast, and he didn’t say anything any other England fan would or has already said. For Kane to come out and say ex-England players have a duty to stand behind the team no matter what or imply they don’t deserve to say anything because they never won a tournament was a little rich. Kane has sleepwalked through both first games.

In these days, where professional sports follow the Clive Woodward 1% mantra, it seems bizarre that a player like Kane would play when not 100% fit. Otherwise, why bother focusing on the 1%? So either he is fit enough and not putting an effort in or, as he has intimated, doesn’t know what he’s doing, or he is playing partially fit when he should be putting his hand up and letting Watkins or Toney or even Palmer replace him. Perhaps he may feel he’s helping the team ‘rally around’ when all the fans want is for them to play like they want it.

The best teams play with some risk. They play a high line to pressure the opponent knowing it will leave them at risk for a counter. With VAR the risk is reduced. But they have confidence that they will create more chances and get the win. Southgate uses tactics like many middling to lower teams. Play it safe, and hope you get a chance for the counter. However, England’s squad is not built around a tight two banks of four, or five, game plan.

England are through based on the results of the Group B final games, so they might as well play as if every game is the last game and take the risks and push forward. Given that most teams other than Spain have shown weakness, they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Paul McDevitt

👉 How did England go from ‘outstanding’ midfield three to Conor sodding Gallagher in 18 months?
👉 ‘Spud-flogger’ Lineker urged not to ‘rub those balls’ as England coverage goes mental


Trying to cut through the knees jerking…
…like a doctor with a little metal hammer.

England fans – Knees jerking all over the shop.

“Drop Trent”.. (Gallagher has been even worse when coming on in his stead.. but let’s ignore that)

We are playing a team ranked over 50 places below us.. (Scotland could beat this lot) so it shouldn’t matter who we play where really.. we will win by 2 clear goals (or more in my opinion) tonight.

The biggest issue seems to be a left back that won’t/can’t cross with his left foot (surely as Joe Gomez has actually played left back for 20 games? or so this season he would be the far better option)

No width at all on the left (so Trent cant even make his normal passes to Robbo/Darwin/Jota/Diaz as it were..

We are playing in 2/3rds of the pitch..

We have yet again shoehorned the ‘best players’ on the pitch regardless (for Foden/Bellers see Lamps/Gerrard)

We have seemingly learned nothing from 40yrs (60yrs) of hurt!

That’s the biggest stick with which to beat Gareth really imo. He cant be doing everything wrong as he’s actually got to a Semi and a Final ffs! – Would have torn limbs off for that 10yrs ago!

He’s too defensive… but he’s also got more attacking talent on the pitch then we may have ever had in my lifetime…

Seems if you are going to play Trips then play Gordon ahead of him – it’s almost like they play together at club level and have some idea where each other will be..

Foden on the bench to replace a tired Jude at 60mins when he has finished trying to be every player and every position.

I actually heard the Spurs argument this morning while walking the dog/

“I would rather we played exciting football and lost…..”

Go F**k your self! Bullshit

Does any one in Greece worry about it? Does any one in Portugal? Miserable draw specialists both won.

We want to be Brazil 70 and Germany 90s and Man City 2020’s.

Will be an easy win this evening against terrible lower ranked opposition and Gallagher change will be hailed….

Shaw will get 15mins at the end – make 3 crosses with his actual left foot and Harry will complete his hattrick (after getting his 1st early on) from 2 of them
Al – kneejerking – easy win tonight from which we will have learned nothing, again! (Gallagher is not the answer against Italy/Portugal/France/Germany)


Busquets? Everybody needs a Busquets
Reading that England needs a Busquets
reminded me of the time a pundit said “what this team needs is a Zidane” to which the reply was simple: “to be fair, every team needs a Zidane”

Busquets is, for my money, the greatest defensive midfielder* of the past twenty years or more. It wasn’t just his reading of the game, being positionally sound, but his ability to move from under pressure to finding thirty yards of space with one drop of the shoulder. His close control was exceptional and he was a dirty bastard too. Xavi and Iniesta will always be the stars in that midfield but without Busquets they wouldn’t have flourished quite so well.

*probably closer to a complete midfielder in honesty.
Dan Mallerman


Rice better than Kroos? Behave
I am replying to Lee, who said Rice is on the same level as prime Kroos. Hmmmm, only thing I can say is that you are not an Arsenal fan.. between August to December, we played Declan Rice primarily as the deepest midfielder(a 6). We were okay, Rice was scoring goals, salvaging us from difficult situations, but we somehow missed Xhaka, funny as it sounds, we did miss him.. we were boring, predictable, with the worst goal difference among the the top 3, went to St James and had one shot on target (a timid cross cum shot by Martinelli in the first half). We lost control and our attacking impetus from season previous suffered.

Then against Liverpool in the FA Cup, Jorginho came in.. we lost, but we would have been 3-0 up at half time, we came back from Dubai, persisted with the Rice at DM, beat Forest 2-1, beat Palace 5-0 (a match where we scored two set piece goals and a counter, again Jorginho came in.. and sent Martinelli through on goal twice.. he scored both times). After that Jorginho or Partey were now fixtures at the base of the midfield, orchestrating play (like Kroos).

We looked like title contenders again, played like one.. obliterated Liverpool’s five point lead..took Man City to the wire, had the best goal difference, scoring goals for fun, three times did we go back to Rice as a NO 6, FC Porto away, Aston Villa at home, and Wolves at home. We lost control in all three, losing twice.

Rice is an 8. Incredible energy. He can be a 6 for West Ham and do well, but playing for England means you need to control games, playing for a team trying to win the league means control and creativity from deep, as a 6, you do not need to be the strongest…just the most intelligent.

Kroos, Pirlo, Xabi Alonso Modric, Xxavi, Busquets, Jorginho, Kante are all known for their brains on the pitch and are all elite winners, when you think of Rice, do you think of his brains? England has Wharton, why has he not played? ..and if he was not going to play, why drop Maddison (he is a Spurs guy, but he is good) or Henderson (average player, but keeps it simple, retains possession). Play Wharton as a 6.

You guys should stop this Rice as a defensive midfielder. Arsenal are being linked with a plethora of No 6s to replace Partey and/or Jorginho, from Zubimendi to Guimares to Onana, this means that we have accepted that Rice cannot play as a 6, England should too.

Back to the Kroos, Rice comparison, it’s baseless. It’s like comparing prime Kane to an in-form Rashford, just because Rashford can moonlight as a striker does not make him one, not for an elite club. Rice should be compared to Valverde instead.
Kufre Solomon


The Brexit Clamour
England qualified with a game to spare making this the most successful group stage in decades. Last game against the weakest team in the group so Gareth likely to make changes and pressure will be off.

If you have been clamouring for a change in formation or personal, if Gareth plays it and we win, you were not right all along. It’s against Slovenia and it’s a free hit. Maybe this is what the players need to settle in.

What’s funny about the clamour is how it reminds me of Brexit. Everyone knows what a Brexit is but everyone’s version of Brexit is different. This means that when people get a Brexit and it’s not a representation of a utopian Britain then it was the wrong Brexit. Leaders are wrong, man on the street was right. Same with the England XI.

We even saw the famous 4 4 f***ing 2 in the mailbox! Sounds like a line from a documentary from when Mike Bassett was England manager and him from the chase was still in football.

There’s times when the manager knew better, such as Geoff Hurst over Jimmy Greaves, or Owen Hargreaves. The fandom did apologise for that one.

There’s times when the crowd knew better such as Foden for Mount, only one of Gerrard or Lampard and, the Brexitness of the mailbox’s England XI aside, no Trent in CM. Stones can step forward to fill that space on the ball, Bellingham drop deep off the ball. It’s time for 4 4 f**king 2.
Alex, South London


What has happened to Italy and the Italian game?
I grew up on a Sunak diet (zero Sky) of James Richardson, so have always loved Serie A and the Italian game. From their quality, to their hair to their devilish good looks. Maldini, Baggio, Cannavaro, Del Piero, Inzaghi, Vieri, Nesta… they were the byword for style and footballing class.

I watched them again last night, after the Spain thrashing, and they’re atrocious. It’s not the coaching, it’s the complete absence of quality players. Looking through their team, there’s only Donnarumma, Bastoni and Barella that would get in the England team, and the latter two only because they’re our weakest areas. Beyond that, there’s not a single player that would even make our squad. Ditto France.

Serie A has gone from being THE league to having a 35yo Ashley Young winning the title alongside Matteo Darmian and Romelu Lukaku being Player of the Year. It’s easy to get all wistful and romantic about it, but the reality is that it’s much closer to Ligue Un than the Premier League.

And where are the strikers? At the turn of the millennium they had Vieri, Totti, Del Piero, Inzaghi, an ageing Baggio and more to call upon. In 2024 it’s a West Ham flop and a guy in Retegui that they had to pluck out of Argentina.

If there’s any Italians, or Italy based ex-pats, please explain it because it makes the 9yo inside of me, swooning over Beppe Signori’s tiny feet pinging another into the top corner, really rather sad.
Lewis, Busby Way


Villa are being harshly treated
I just wanted to vent a little bit about how Villa, Chelsea, Everton and Newcastle are being portrayed in the early summer transfer rounds.

Reading Twitter (no, I refuse to call it X), forums, newspapers and the like I have seen us accused of cheating, fraud, money laundering (I do not think it means what they think it means) collusion and worse, so let’s be clear.

This horse trading is only happening because the PSR are designed to make clubs sell their best players. These transactions are literally only happening so these clubs can stay competitive next season.

Are Everton really selling one if their most promising players to Villa because actually they think they can do better? Nah.

Have Villa accepted an offer on the brightest talent in their academy because it’s an offer that is to good to turn down? No, it’s because they need to book a profit before the end of the month.

Lets also look at Douglas Luiz, a Brazil international that under free-market conditions would be fetching somewhere in the €80-100m bracket. He’s being sold for €25m and some kids, so let’s not open the can of worms about what constitutes “fair value” for a transfer (clue: it doesn’t involve transfermarkt).

There was also a tweet that’s been shared thousands of times and shared by Gary Lineker, among others, that is essentially a Man Utd fan complaining that because Everton are no longer under (as much) financial distress they will have to pay more for Branthwaite, which gets to the crux if the issue.

The PSR, as they stand are there to protect the Sky 6. They are to allow them to pick off talent from other clubs on the cheap. It is to maintain a closed shop.

Want proof? Let’s consider the “S” part – Sustainability.

A key measure of the stability of a business is the debt to equity ratio, so let’s look at some clubs owe.

Spurs – £650m
Man Utd – £650m
Man City – £450m
Chelsea – £0
Newcastle – £0
Aston Villa – £0

Now ask yourself why debt free clubs are being forced to jump through these loopholes to avoid sanctions.

The whole thing stinks.
Will (angry Villa fan), Hertfordshire

READ: The 15 FMV factors Premier League will judge before allowing Chelsea, Aston Villa and Everton transfers