England told to sack Southgate and bring in Liverpool legend Klopp now; five reasons to be positive

Editor F365
Jurgen Klopp and England boss Gareth Southgate
Jurgen Klopp should replace Gareth Southgate, according to the Mailbox.

England should sack Gareth Southgate and bring in Liverpool legend Jurgen Klopp mid-tournament. Plus, five reasons to be positive about the Three Lions, invisible Saka, England managers ‘get screwed over’ and more…

Send your thoughts to theeditor@football365.com

 

Five reasons to be positive about England
I worry that our relentless negativity is only going to make things worse for England.  Time to turn those frowns upside down:

  1. England struggle against a low block.  Who’s going to play a low block against us now?!  Hojbjerg running slowly towards 5 England players was enough to cause Rice to boot it out for a corner.  We’ve dreamed for years about being able to have enough space to play counter-attacking football.  The moment is now.
  2. England have two of the best players in world football at scoring from crosses (Bellingham and Kane) but never cross the ball.  We also have one of the best players in world football (TAA) at crossing a ball.  We’ve literally scored or almost scored from every cross we’ve put in this tournament.   Southgate’s clearly saving crossing for when it really matters.
  3. England have somehow created a bad midfield out of two 100million pound centre mids.  Hojbjerg bossed the game yesterday, which is crazy.  But he is a decent player playing in his natural position surrounded by other decent players playing in their natural positions.  Bellingham spent his game wondering where Toni Kroos was.  Rice spent his game wondering where TAA was.  Imagine what could happen if we put an actual bonafide central midfielder in central midfield – say Wharton or even Bellingham (who apparently even used to be a central midfielder!)
  4. Cole Palmer hasn’t played a minute.  We needed a lot more of CP’s sweet sweet ‘I don’t a f&*k’ baller energy yesterday.  Southgate’s waiting for the perfect moment to unleash him.
  5. Kane needs riling up.  Gareth’s pre match team talk from now on consists of 3 words: “Palmer’s on pens.”

Jonathan (AFC)

 

England. Again.
I expect you’ll get a lot of these, but my word that was poor. There are parallels with Euro 2020, a laboured opening win followed by an insipid draw, to offer some hope, but this felt worse. Actually bad rather than just dull.

Why do the BBC feel the need to further punish us with the razor sharp analysis of Rio and Micah (and to a lesser extent Alan) who’s spittle flecked diagnosis was Kane as the source of England’s woes. No examination of why he was dropping deep, which was an effect not the cause of England failing to hold the ball. No thoughts on why the midfield were collectively shitting the bed. It just needs Watkins to come on and England will complete a miraculous victory. Of course there was no introspection when that happened and England still bumbled around like a frightened and confused old man trying to navigate an Ikea. I hate to say it, but I think ITV’s coverage is considerably better these days. It’s a low bar.

And on to Southgate. It all feels so muddled. He’s always maintained he wants control and possession, but hollows out the midfield with a converted RB. He brings on Bowen, Watkins and Eze to inject some pace in the front line, which is fine, we can play on the transition, except five minutes earlier he’s just taken off his specialist long passer.

Roy Keane briefly touched on the confusion, referencing Southgate’s press conference where he said something along the lines of not being able to retain possession but then not having enough pace on the counter. Which are we trying to play?!

And if it is possession why does he have something against possession based players? The pattern seems to be when England lose control, he brings on a high energy player. Latterly this was Henderson, now Gallagher, whilst Wharton sits on the bench. Gallagher will ferret around in midfield and bring impetus to a team with possession but lacking some thrust; he’s not going to suddenly retain possession though. I can’t decide if this is deliberate and he’s leaning into the loss of control and adapting the team to play without it, or he genuinely thinks this sort of player will regain it. And that’s not to mention two of the most adept possession players he’s left on the beach in favour of some more runners.

And god knows what the attacking plan is if they do get possession. I have thought for quite some time that, for all the goals he’s scored, England rarely actually create good chances for Kane. In both matches neither Foden or Bellingham tried to play him in when he was moving between CBs, or use him to play off. Even the goal last night was an accident. He had dropped off and created space for an easy cut back but Walker ignores him, takes an extra touch to run into trouble then hammers a square ball, ostensibly to Foden, but actually to no one.  If it wasn’t for the Danish defender getting involved it would have gone out for a throw.

It’s maddening. Maybe they’ll improve, but given this is his 4th tournament it’s quite late in the day to still be fashioning a functioning midfield, the loss of Philips notwithstanding, and working out an attacking pattern that extends beyond trying to get it wide to Saka to put in a cross. I was on board with Southgate, 2018 was great fun and the run to the final in 2021 was as good as I’ve seen for England, but I think he’s might have stayed one tournament too long; this does have the feel of late-era Sven about it all.
JT

 

The problem.
After England’s utterly dismal showing again (with and without Trent so we can stop scapegoating) there were two interviews, one with kane and one with Southgate which in my opinion showed something pretty shocking.

During kanes interview he admitted that most of the players aren’t really sure what to do, they don’t really know how they’re supposed to be playing – which is exactly how it looks.

During southgates interview he was asked if the England players were doing as instructed when they were sitting deep and not moving and Gareth snorted and said “no”

So we have the England manager saying players aren’t following instructions while the England captain says they don’t know what those instructions are. That is 100% Gareth’s fault. It’s his entire job to communicate his tactics to the team and if that’s not happening it’s all on him.

Englands record at tournaments has mostly stemmed from getting extremely fortunate with the draw and then losing to the first good time they meet.

It was honestly quite shocking to hear those two interviews and I was very surprised to not see anyone mention it because in all my years watching football I’ve never seen the captain of any team admit the players don’t really understand how to play followed up by the manager saying nobody is listening to him.

If I’m the FA, and as crazy as this sounds, I might be tempted to dial Jürgen klopp and ask if he’d like a go at winning a euros with England and dismiss Southgate now because I can see England not leaving that (very easy) group.
Lee

 

Having digested last nights terrible meal time for a bit of perspective. Was walking the dog post game and bumped into someone from the local who asked me what I thought. Fortunately, my dog had just done a massive shit, so I had a bag which perfectly described my thoughts in my hand. It was not good, the formation did/does not work, there was no shape, everyone was static, there was no press, we looked knackered…

Or were they just playing within themselves, saving energy for later stages? Do they, as Walker said, have gears to go through and can they find the rythm that all the decent teams seem to be able to tap into?

Trent was getting pelters from my mates, he is no centrlal midfielder but did it get better when we brought a ‘proper’ one on? Nope, Gallagher went straight into the pooh bag. If Southgate was indeed trying to conserve energy, why bring on a player who’s only actual gift appears to be running abaaat a lot. Love the fly analogy – it fits perfectly. All I have heard is about our press, but that wasn’t the issue. The issue was what we did when we had the ball. If we are saving ourselves, why oh why are we not keeping the ball?  We are set up like Klopps Liverpool, and without Klopps intensity it doesn’t work!

Had a look at the World cup semi starting line up and all we are missing is Henderson and Maguire. I’m not saying we need them but we miss (someone like) Hendersons game management, someone to move us up the pitch and speed up the passing tempo. Yesterday, Rice and Trent were on the centre backs toes for the entire game. Can Southgate fix it? He has got us through tournaments like no other but this time I’m not so sure. But it is not going to be pretty finding out until it clicks.
Tom, Flip flopping all over the place

 

I’ve read with interest the mails on what Southgate is doing wrong.  Two of the main criticisms are that:

A – As soon as we score or the game is important we revert to dropping deep and conceding possession.

B – Southgate is picking favourites, playing players out of position etc.

It’s interesting to me, because this is what every England team & manager has done for as long as I’ve been watching England (I’m very old, so that’s quite long).  In fact, the manager who got closest to eliminating both was Southgate.  I think people forget, but early tenure Southgate phased out some old favourites, binned the lump-de-jour up front cycle, played in form players in position and pretty much had the players playing with a degree of freedom I’d never seen before.

It’s possible that the criticisms of him being all vibes and no tactics are correct, and that is what England needed at the time. Dunno. But it worked for a while. Right up to the final v Italy.

Having not watched the world cup, the difference between now and the last Euros is stark.  Whatever he was doing right, he’s not doing it now. Maybe it’s been more gradual and people have short memories, but the thing he’s being criticised for now are the reasons I loved his first 4 years in the job.

I suspect there is something (players, media, fans, our inherent English psyche – someone cleverer than me can answer that one) English, a national Spursyness if you will, that means we’ll always revert to type.

This is not a defence of Southgate in this tournament – I believe this should be his last as England manager.  I’m just not convinced a manager exists who could break this mental block we seem to have.
Jeremy (I really hope I’m wrong) Aves

 

English managers get screwed over
Firstly, I want to say that people’s reactions to the performances are totally overboard. Just as a reminder, when Spain won the world cup with arguably the greatest international squad we’ve seen in the last 30 years, they lost their opener to Switzerland, won 4 games by a one goal lead and the only game that they won by more than two goals was against Honduras. That was a team that consisted of Villa, Torres, Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro, Alonso, Fabregas. People in the mailbox criticised Walker’s press conference yesterday but he was spot on – tournament football is messy and the facts are that we are top of the group and almost guaranteed to get through.

Having said all of that, I do think England has a problem that Southgate epitomises, but extends well beyond him, and is best examined using quotes from Sam Allardyce. Sam once made a comment that he could win the treble if he was manager of Man City. Now I do not think that this is the case, but I think it misses his underlying point, which is that English managers do not get the best jobs. Now contrast this with Germany: Usually its a German that manages Bayern. Spain – plenty of Spanish managers have managed Barca and Real madrid. In Italy, its basically exclusively italian managers managing the best teams. As a result, all of these countries have a wealth of managers at their disposal that have won either league titles or champions leagues and have therefore developed elite tactical skills, either either help them do two things – one is be well prepared for international football, or the second is that they get a high paying job in a different league (usually the premier league)

If we look at the last 40 years, the nationalities of the manager who has won the CL has been the following: 6 Italians, 6 German, 4 Spanish, 3 dutch, 1 French, 2 portuguese. No english winners, and though I haven’t checked I’m sure no english runners up either.  In the EPL same thing – last time an english manager won the english premier league was 1992.

People will hate on Southgate, but the way I see it is that he’s done a stellar job given he has an incredibly limited managerial CV, and whats depressing is that even if you were to look for more experienced managers, you would barely find any that are more qualified. Right now the best alternative we have is Eddie Howe, whose best achievement (to date) is getting into the champions league.
M, London

 

Invisible Saka
Invisible Saka, are you kidding me Bad Wolf? We must have watched a different game. He was the only one who I saw trying, and also taking the simple pass. Arsenal fans know this, but Saka’s decision making is pretty much 9/10 to make the right pass. The only time anything truly productive happened, it came down his side.

Compare that to say Foden who has hero-itis. He wants to do the flash move in the hope of a goal. But 9/10 this results in losing the ball. There was a moment when all Foden had to do was slide the ball into the path of Harry Kane, yet he felt the need to shoot from the edge of the area. All game he took the fancy way out and lost the ball. It looks great in highlight reels, but it is to the detriment of the team. Bad Wolf is right in one regard, concerning Saka, and that is he seems invisible to his team mates. They literally only pass to him if that is the final option. The amount of times I saw him in space, screaming for the ball, only for it to turn inside … AGAIN!

Personally I blame both the ridiculously long English season, alongside the fact that it is a Southgate side. Craven, defensive and a reflection of our manager. His obsession with playing players out of position is exasperating because rather than playing his best side, he tries to shoe horn in players. Foden out left is not the same as Foden through the middle. The entire team’s instructions seemed to be funnel it back into the middle. The pitch was as narrow as I’ve seen it under Southgate.

When we get through, which we will, we will probably come a cropper against the first team that has any sort of top tier players and an ambition to play football, not whatever that turgid ball recycling we watched last night.
John Matrix AFC  

 

The impossible job…
..it really is. Saw an article in the Guardian from Barney Ronay wondering where all this ‘pressure’ on England comes from? And literally in the sentence above he refers to England as the ‘semi-favourites’ of Euro 24. ..  Life is essentially simple, isn’t it? It’s reality v expectation. When the gap between the two becomes too vast..

England have some very good players and some decent players. They have a decent coach. Let’s give the whole side a collective ‘B’. We would expect to go fairly deep in the tournament and lose to an ‘A’ side  (France, Spain, Germany)

Which is inevitably what will happen. But instead of being happy with qualifying and going on a run, enjoying tournament life, we’re weighed down with the impossible and self-inflicted tag of expectation. No-one in Europe had us marked down as favourites. Why can’t we lean into our averageness? Play like a championship side away at a PL side in the FA Cup? Enjoy it!  And perhaps decide upon a system and use players that fit it?
Dan, London

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Helpful advice for Mr. Shearer and fellow England fans 
Dear Ed, Mr Shearer and readers,

I have been as equally distressed  as you about England’s performances at Euros and wanted to offer some advice we West Ham fans received all season when in a similar situation i.e. a dour manager delivering average results with dreadful performances despite having a host of amazing players.  I hope pundits like Alan Shearer read this as I hear them criticising Southgate and I feel this advice would help them greatly.

The advice is:

‘Be Careful what you wish for !’

That’s right. England, like West Ham, have not been very successful, so you shouldn’t strive for better. No, not at all. Know your place! Be happy with failing and not winning a thing. It is your natural position. Don’t expect to see some good football. What are you? Entitled?

Hopefully, once we all accept this you will feel better and thank Southgate and the footballers for letting you pay them vast sums to serve up this rubbish. A happier world it will be too.
A slightly bitter ‘’IronMan’

 

Just go back to basics, Gareth…
I really hope Gareth watched the Spain performance vs Italy after his teams’ disjointed and disappointing performance against the Danes because they gave a masterclass in how to set-up and execute a 4-4-3 system.

Every player played in their most natural position, replicating what they would do at club level, week in-week out.

Each of the 3 central midfielders had a great understanding of who goes and when and when they had to become a more compact unit.

Both wingers stretched the pitch at every opportunity, providing a constant threat.

Their striker wasn’t turning up at LB or playing within the confines of the centre circle in the hope that he’s created space in behind for runners because they were few and far between.

Spain, Italy, France and Germany all have the same selection headaches but the difference being, they have coaches who are prepared to sacrifice great talent for the benefit of their team structure and system.

We seem to forget very easily (and somewhat ignorantly) that we’re playing the best 11 footballer available to the entire population of the country we are facing.  You can’t just throw a TAA in the middle of the park and expect him to turn into a world class central midfielder because he can ping a ball. You need experience, nous and intelligent to play in midfield at the very top level.

Ironically, the biggest concern before going into the tournament was the defence, yet they have looked fairly assured as a unit despite somewhat being thrown together; whereas it’s been the complete opposite for the midfield and attack.

Gareth just needs to go back to basics. Tell Kane to stay in and around the box, give him Gordon and Saka for width and let Foden play the left sided 8 position with Jude as a 10.

Regards,
Mr. Common Sense.