Gareth Southgate is ‘poor man’s Moyes’ and Harry Kane is pointless…

Editor F365
Gareth Southgate, Harry Kane and Trent Alexander-Arnold
Gareth Southgate, Harry Kane and Trent Alexander-Arnold

England beat Serbia but you wouldn’t know it from the Monday Mailbox as Gareth Southgate, Harry Kane and Trent Alexander-Arnold get a kicking.

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Harry Kane does not fit into this England team​
You obviously have to get the tone right with ‘criticism’ versus ‘critiquing’ a winning performance in the opening group game of a tournament. England scored from open play; kept a clean sheet. No injuries (or bookings?). Debutant Guehi did very well. No clangers or knocks to the confidence. Our best player was the best player on the pitch. Being boring as hell in the opener shouldn’t and doesn’t confirm how you’ll play in the knock-outs (Eg ties against France, and Croatia in 2004).

So, with that being said: Can we talk about ‘arry Kane?

Now, I have to admit that I have a mild bias. That i think he’s an idiot, a cheat, and absolutely is ‘that sort of player’. That it’s not “bad luck” but innate from the limitations his system require; That his finest hour at club level was demanding to play when half fit and the opposition won at walking pace. That Sterling and Mount weren’t fantastic against Italy in 2021, but ‘arry never looked like scoring in that final either; that 1 in 3 have been soft VAR penalties for England.

So obviously I have an open mind and can dispassionately assess his performance.

Kane seems the player who’s guaranteed to score a goal in a team playing well, but rarely the guy who scores the goal in an absolute mugging. And if he does, it’s from the spot. That for England , and as shown again last night, ‘arry drops deep to get the ball…. and then the newspapers all flag he barely has any touches. That where we have a surfeit of talent, is where Kane clutters up, because it worked well with Son and Spurs.

Was it not noticeable that Saka was bloody excellent and warped the space-time continuum to overlap himself, in lieu of Walker catching up, only to then repeatedly find our famed goal-scorer-extraordinaire nowhere useful?

There’s obvious things for Gareth to tweak. Trippier is fine for the group stage but that plan isn’t working in a knock out. That Foden cutting in needs examining, and either avoided or better utilised. Trent wasn’t a disaster but that was far from what success looks like.

But mainly. What is the point of ‘arry if he’s dropping deep?

The legend that was Raul, at 31, and having just won the league with Real & scoring 1 in 2, got nowhere near the Spain team that won Euro 2008. The oft-cited but still relevant quote from Jack Charlton was not his expressing astonishment at getting picked for England in ’66, but the manager dismissing that and telling him “I’m picking the players I need”.

As much as I don’t like Kane, he is a very good player. In a formation where England will never commit men forward, I think they need a striker that could get the best out of Foden, Bellingham, Saka, and Rice behind them. If England played 442 and he had a partner, he’d be amazing. If England had a Son, he would be good. But England have a Foden and a Saka and a Bellingham and I think if we need to crow bar a system in to use them, that system doesn’t get the best out of Kane, and his starting place should be in question.
Tom G


Trent is not a midfielder
TAA is a great player, unfortunately, he is not a central midfielder.

Against Serbia, and the other Group games, England will need incisive passing and control. “Hollywood” balls against a packed defence with a low block isn’t really a thing.

In the knockout rounds, England will need a proper midfield – tackle, cover, control, etc, etc. That’s not Trent. it’s actually Adam Wharton, who looks like a Xavi regen with his head on a swivel and progressive passes fired in on the ground to players on the half turn. Of course, he needs game time. Instead, we got Gallagher and more chaos not less. Good old Gareth and his in-game management.
Matthew (ITFC)

👉 Jude Bellingham’s England (just) beat Serbia: 16 Conclusions on an unnecessarily nervy opener
👉 England player ratings v Serbia: Bellingham runs the show, Kane quiet, Saka shows positive signs
👉 Harry Kane was ‘static and lumbering’ as he faces calls to be dropped by England


…Well that was pretty abject wasn’t it?

Anyway can we stop with the shoehorning of TAA into a team because “He can pass a ball”. If you have to play him put him on the right wing FFS at least there he can do a Beckham and ping in crosses to Kane.

The Midfield needs Rice and Mainoo, both are progressive going forward and both of them can shield a defence, Foden was lost on the left and needs dropping and rotating with Bellingham.

The defence was fine and hopefully getting Shaw back fit will make it better.

Southgate is England’s Kryptonite though, his passive management will win us nothing, Serbia made changes to stop England’s initial initiative yet when Serbia were on top Southgate did nothing, the only time he makes changes is when we concede or when it’s too late and when he does make changes they are baffling to say the least. Southgate is a reactive rather than proactive manager but even when he does finally react he makes the wrong calls.

Anyway at least we have the 3 points and hopefully he will finally learn regarding Trent, not holding my breath though.

Lastly Rashford and Grealish must be sat watching thinking what if, the left side was crying out for someone to actually stay on the left and engage the fullback.

Onwards and sidewards.
Paul Murphy, Manchester


Why do England play like that at 1-0?
Maybe it’s the manager, maybe it’s the players. Whoever is at fault, surely we – the public and the media – cannot pretend that just because we won 1-0 we didn’t all witness a blindingly obvious shift in tactical approach when England went 1-0 up. All 11 players seemed to abandon any attempt at a high press, regressed into their own half, and England descended into an attritional mess against bang average opposition on the ball, with no control of possession.

It’s something we’ve seen result in continuous failures in past tournaments. It’s also deeply depressing to watch as an England fan because it’s both a joyless spectacle, and suggests the senior team set up still refuses to evolve from the past.

I suspect this is an extension of Southgate’s character. He’s a nice man. He wants to respect his opponents. But after 8 years in charge, if he still believes the only way England can possibly progress deep into tournaments is to abandon anything proactive and entertaining, then we’re f*cked.
Greg Linton


…Southgate is a poor man’s Moyes. Fact.
Mike, Moyes Out (yes, still), WHU


Denmark and Slovenia next…
Watching the live game now and I don’t fancy England to beat either of these.

Can England really surprise anyone??
Stock Controller


But none of this matters, guys
When are England fans and the English media going to realise that how England play against lesser teams doesn’t show whether or not they can win a major tournament at all.

Had we spanked Serbia 6-0 rather than scraped a nervy 1-0 win would that show that we can win Euro 2024? Of course it would not. All it would show is that as can comfortably beat teams like Serbia but the moment we come up against a very good team, like France for example, we’ll most likely be on the plane home.

Remember the World Cup in Qatar in 2022? We spanked Iran 6-2 in our opening group game and Wales 3-0 and Senegal 3-0 in the round of 16. And then what happened? We were dumped out in the quarter-finals by France, the first good team we came up against. You could pretty much say the same at Euro 2020. After sloshing Ukraine 4-1 in the quarter-finals and beating Denmark 2-1 in the semis we lost to Italy, the first genuinely good team we faced, in the final.

Whether England thrash teams like Serbia 6-0 or scrape a 1-0 win doesn’t show we can win anything. England fans and the English media need to wake up to the fact that how England play against the weaker teams doesn’t mean anything really.
Dan, London