England ‘secrets’ exposed as Southgate ‘refuses to play’ 19-goal striker

Editor F365
Harry Kane and Ollie Watkins
Harry Kane and Ollie Watkins

England manager Gareth Southgate is blowing some tiny minds by making Ollie Watkins pretend to be Serbian, while the ‘secret’ is out about the bikes.


First refusal
‘Gareth Southgate refusing to play two strikers even in England training’ is quite the take from the Daily Telegraph, though Mediawatch is amused to note that the author is an Aston Villa fan.

‘Refusing to play’ implies that Southgate has come under pressure to try something that literally never happens in a match but he has point-blank stubbornly stuck to his guns.

Mediawatch also notes that he has ‘refused to play’ two goalkeepers, though he is really quite happy to play three right-backs. Hypocrite.

Gareth Southgate is yet to test playing with two strikers in training as the England manager sticks to Plan A in his bid to win the European Championship.

He is pretty much yet to test playing with two strikers during eight largely successful years as England manager, fella.

Neither Watkins, who scored 19 Premier League goals and registered 13 assists for Aston Villa, nor Toney were used in the narrow win against Serbia and Southgate appears to favour like-for-like switches from the substitutes’ bench.

‘Appears to’? He absolutely does. Watkins has 12 caps for England and he has only ever replaced or been replaced by a striker, usually Harry Kane.

Rather than change shape against Serbia, Southgate sent on Jarrod Bowen to replace Bukayo Saka against Serbia, with Toney taking over from Kane in the warm-up defeat by Iceland and Kane replacing Watkins against Bosnia.

Can we all take a second to imagine the reaction had Southgate brought on Watkins or Toney to replace Saka on Sunday night when England were winning 1-0…

Finished? Now do we all understand why he ‘refuses’ to train with two strikers?


Let’s pretend!
It’s pretty standard for back-up strikers to ape the movements of the opposition in the build-up to big games. After all, the England defence needed to learn how to deal with the Serb strikers, not Ollie Watkins and Ivan Toney.

But this has blown the tiny minds of The Sun, who would rather spend their days teasing a glimpse of Laura Woods’ side boob.

YOU WAT? Ollie Watkins and Ivan Toney handed concerning England training role as Southgate sticks to rigid Euro 2024 plan

‘Concerning’? As Serbia managed only one shot on target (from distance) v England on Sunday, we would absolutely say it worked.

OLLIE WATKINS and Ivan Toney were tasked with pretending to be Serbia in preparation for England’s opening game of Euro 2024.

Yes. And it worked.

👉 Euro 2024 Power Rankings: 5) England, 24) Scotland after first games
👉 France, Belgium booted out, Modric embarrassing and England win – what Euro 2024 shirt numbers say


Secret society
And this is such a damned crazy scheme that The Sun have penned a whole article about these alternative tactics:

England’s secrets for Euro 2024 success, from pickle juice to £3,400 electric bikes and getting players to mimic rivals

It turns out that’s exactly where these ‘secrets’ begin and end. There are three ‘secrets’, all of which they have carelessly not kept a secret.

It starts with bikes, which they rode out in public. They should be really bloody careful because other countries could decide to also ride bikes. Like the Netherlands and Germany.

Then there’s the pickle juice, described as a ‘magic potion’ by the Daily Mirror. Like it’s some sort of Harry Potter shit and not just something many sportspeople use to combat cramp.

And the last of these ‘secrets’? The ‘concerning’ tactic of preparing international defenders for international football games.

Just wait until they remember about the ‘secret weapon smart ring‘.


The Main man
Talking of England positions…

‘Kobbie Mainoo pinpoints ideal England role after changing positions as a kid’ – Mirror.

Question: Is it central midfield?

Yes, it’s central midfield.

More as we get it.


Shaw thing
The day before an England game is obviously the traditional time for an injury crisis and SPORTBIBLE are more than happy to oblige:

England suffer major blow ahead of Denmark game as key player trains alone from the rest of the squad

‘Major blow’! ‘Key player!’

In a statement the Three Lions revealed that 25 of Gareth Southgate’s 26-man squad were training this morning, ahead of Thursday’s encounter with Denmark.

Luke Shaw however was absent from the session, and is instead continuing his “individual programme elsewhere”.

Oh. So the 25 players who were available on Sunday when England beat Serbia 1-0 are still available?

Yes. Yes, they are.


A brief foray into Chelsea positional news now as the Express brings us this update:

Cole Palmer set for Chelsea positional change as Enzo Maresca hatches risky plan

Apparently, the ‘risky plan’ is for Cole Palmer to play in a more central role rather on the right.

The ex-Manchester United star also played as a No. 10 on occasions for the club, though he appeared to have a greater impact on matches when playing out wide – with Conor Gallagher, Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo being Pochettino’s first-choice midfield trio.

A few things.

1) You might mean Manchester City. It’s tricky.

2) He played as a No. 10 on 18 occasions, including his last eight Premier League starts.

3) He had more goal involvements from central positions than wide.

Such a damned ‘risky plan’.