England fans ‘worry’ Three Lions will struggle to get out of group ‘without Maguire’; Palmer is overhyped

Editor F365
England duo Harry Maguire and Gareth Southgate
Harry Maguire missed out on Gareth Southgate's squad through injury.

One Mailboxer is starting to get ‘worried’ that England will struggle to get out of their group. Plus, a tribute to Kevin Campbell, poor refereeing decisions and more Euro 2024.

Send your Euro 2024 predictions to theeditor@football365.com


England musings 
Well, as Souness said, difficult to work out if Germany are good or Scotland really bad after that performance. I actually wanted the Scots to do well, their fans were having such a good Time it would have been nice for them to have something to celebrate. Hate to say it but England fans would never be able to spend a day drinking in a city centre without all sorts of trouble flaring up. Like it or not, there is a huge element of arseholes that follow England and they are pretty much guaranteed to let the country down at some point. I take my son to Wembley regularly but wouldn’t dream of following England abroad – which is damning.

Onto the football, heard Southgate’s interview where he was saying we would be mad not to play Jude in the same position he plays for Real? What? Does he realise we are not actually Real Madrid and have a very different set of players? Not least Harry Kane up front as opposed to Joselu? Surely we should be looking to use Jude in a way that works for England? Against Iceland it was noticeable that Palmer and Foden were floating and interchanging, which meant they kept getting in each others way. I think Palmer is pretty good, but pundits have gone way over the top with him, he’s definitely not a starter in my eyes. I’m guessing we are swapping Palmer for Bellingham and ‘giving Trent a go‘ in centre mid:

Walker. Stones, Guehi, trippier
Arnold. Rice
Saka  Bellingham. Foden

I would assume that the idea would be for Bellingham to fill the gap that Kane leaves when he drops deep but this will only work if we create width. Saka and Foden both love cutting in so that width has to come from the full backs. Be prepared for TAA to fill Walkers hole and look to switch it to the left, at which point we’ll lose the ball because Trippier is shit. Then Serbia will waltze into the space behind him. With Shaw I think this would be dynamite but it will all fall down because we have no real left back. Surely Gomez is a better option on the left? I know he is a righty but he’s been playing left back for Liverpool for a large part of the season in a similar way.

Genuinely worried that we are going to struggle to get out of the group. Serbia will be solid at the back and have dangerous players up top, Denmark have loads of players that would love to put one over on us. Anyone that thinks Hojland wont be out to prove a point has another thing coming, and he is good when he’s in a proper team. Our centre defence looks like a wet paper bag without Maguire.

Oh, and I think Germany will prove to be good, they’ve got comparable players to us and a better manager.

Also, why is nobody talking about Spain?

Or Italy?

This is my head in the run up to a tournament. It hurts.
Tom, The negative one

Versus Serbia…
Dear Editor,

Serbia game should be:

Pickford, Trippier, Stones, Geuhi, Walker; Gordon, Rice, Bellingham, Saka with Foden tucked just behind Kane.

Subs to consider:  Palmer, Wharton, etc as needed.

Why Gordon? He will provide width in the attack for Foden to operate in around the D and penalty box… and for Bellingham to command the game centrally. Gordon and Palmer successfully navigated though a gruelling tournament to beat Spain’s U21 in Georgia last year. Both clearly the better England players to emerge in that campaign, to then flourish in the Premiership this year. By first earning their senior team selection against a very tough Spain (red cards everywhere) the pair of players should give Southgate gifted hungry players who’ve already tasted success but want more. Gordon can run Serbia ragged.

Foden and Bellingham will then have an uncluttered opposing half to express themselves in, as the Serbian midfield is stretched chasing down Saka and Gordon out by the touch lines. Foden should be forward and central not force fit out on the left where I suspect Southgate will wedge him due to politics and Gordon is probably the means to unleash Foden to his true potential.


Joining the debate on the England eleven, I am clutching at straws that things will happen as the tournament goes on and by some witch-craftb we’ll end up getting Rice and Bellingham behind Foden in our midfield.

As and when Kane drops, Jude runs past him, as does Gordon on the left and Saka on the right.

That is a good midfield three and needs a lot of minutes.

I cannot see that happening in the group stage but that ‘front six’ would be tough for any high level opponent. Palmer on for Saka as he tires too .

If that does not happen this summer then hopefully the next coach will see it that way .
Peter. (Nagelsmann’s porked up a bit) Andalucia.


RIP Super Kev
Absolutely gutted at the passing of Kevin Campbell.

This may make me sound like an old git but Super Kev really was from a bygone era.

An era when players weren’t multi-millionaires and you felt a real connection to them – particularly if they came from the youth ranks like his peers Adams, Rocky, Davis and Thomas.

Sincere condolences to Kevin’s family, friends and everyone at Everton as well.

Super Kev – you will forever be missed.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London


Euros excitement
Germany destroying Scotland made me think three things: Germany really could be back in business, I love Ally McCoist and why did I put a fiver on Scotland snagging a draw?

It made me feel something too: excitement. No, it wasn’t the most exciting opener. But also, it was. Because such is the way of international football: nearly every game matters. Nearly every game has consequences.

And we have lots of games people. I know you know that already, but 3 games a day for around two weeks solid? Sorry work, I’m on holiday already.

This is the time to savour it, when it’s just begun. When it’s all new. It feels like Christmas eve, the hope and optimism, with it all to look forward to.

God I love it. Like, seriously seriously love it. Hope you all enjoy this utter feast F365 employees and readers alike, I know I bloody will.
Jack, 30, London 

Poor refereeing decisions
To Ronnie Buzzard, Manchester,

I’ll see your Urs Meier and raise you one Pierluigi Collina, Everton vs. Villarreal, Champions League 2005.
TX Bill (much better from the USA vs. Brazil), EFC


I took Ronnie Buzzard’s advice from the last mailbox and had a look at what Meier said about that Sol Campbell goal.

Not surprising to see a referee double down on their decision making, but he did make a fair point on Terry fouling the keeper. From what I can see, it looks like Terry is holding him down, lad is barely off the ground, so unfortunately it’s probably correct. Maybe I’m doing the same as him though, as I’m expecting to see Terry fouling someone in the area.

However, there was something actually quite interesting he said, on one of the mailbox’s 427 favourite subjects: VAR.

“I always say [VAR is] like an airbag, it’s useful if you need it,” he laughs. “Normally you don’t need it, but it’s possible maybe one time you will need to rely on it.
“But if you need to use it three or four times then you ask is he a good driver?”

I think that’s a pretty solid summary of one of the issues with VAR, i.e. the over-reliance on it, especially by linemen/assistant ref. It should be there to correct decisions, not be left as a back-up because you don’t want to hit the brake.

Two quickish ones on United: before this season of massive and critical injuries, the manager reached 3rd and two cup finals by adding a couple of new players, while having no fit owned striker. This year was bad, but even the evil masters have recognised the injuries played a significant part. Who would have thought missing three key defenders (and most of the backups) and having two midfielders for whom age caught up suddenly would have an impact? Astonishing.

On the managerial shenanigans, end of year reviews are pretty standard in most large corporate entities. They even did due dilligence by looking at alternatives and agreed that they weren’t an improvement. On that basis, adding security and consistency to the squad is sensible as the rebuild continues. Players tend to like to know who their boss is before joining. And I can’t imagine there are many who would join because Tuchel or Poch are in the seat, let alone Southgate.
Badwolf (Those Germans look tidy don’t they. Yikes)


Pockets of space…
Watching a stream of Germany v Scotland here in Canada on ITV.

I can’t recall ever hearing the phrase ‘pocket of space’ used so much. Who came up with this cliche-tastic utterance? It’s fucking nonsense.

It’s just space people, so quit it with the pockets bullshit.
A, LFC, Montreal