Gary Neville fires three shots at Southgate but ‘heart overrides head’ as England ‘destiny’ awaits

Will Ford
Southgate Neville England
Gary Neville has hit out at Gareth Southgate over his coaching at Euro 2024.

Gary Neville still believes England can win Euro 2024 as they still have “one of the best squads” but the pundit fired three jibes at Gareth Southgate following their displays in the opening four games in Germany.

England finished top of their group but failed to convince in any of their three games save for the first 30 minutes against Serbia, and then needed a 95th-minute goal from Jude Bellingham against Slovakia in the last 16 to prevent them being dumped out of the tournament before Harry Kane struck in extra time to send them through.

‘Something is happening’

The Three Lions face their toughest test so far against Switzerland in the quarter-finals and while Neville admits if England play as they have done they will be roundly beaten, he also believes the boost that their dramatic turnaround against Slovakia will have given them could prove crucial.

“I cannot make sense of England,” he wrote in The Overlap newsletter. “My head says they’re heading home on Saturday, certainly if they perform like they have in the first four games.

“And yet my heart says something is happening… A last-minute wonder goal changes the dynamic even if that makes no sense.

“If you’ve played badly for four games, the chances are you will do so again. If you hardly created any goalscoring chances, the likelihood is you will fail again in the next match.

“So why should Jude Bellingham’s overhead goal make all the difference? Rationally it won’t. England played their worst football of the Gareth Southgate era on Sunday night. Yet emotionally it changes everything.

“Let’s be clear, England perform like they did against Slovakia when they play Switzerland on Saturday and they will be well and truly beaten.

“Switzerland are a much better side than anyone they have faced, with Serie A, Premier League and Bundesliga winners at the heart of their line up. Crucially they have something England clearly lack, which is a clear system everyone buys into.

“So at the moment my heart and head are wrestling with each other. My head tells me performance matters, that eventually you run out of road in a tournament when you’re not creating chances.”

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‘Passive on and off the pitch’

Neville also hit out at Southgate, claiming there are no “patterns” to England’s football and that both he and his players have been too “passive” in Germany.

“England aren’t gelling,” he added. “We’re not seeing any coached patterns of play, they’re passive on the pitch and passive off it, in the lack of substitutions and interventions Gareth Southgate is making.

“But something happened. Results matter. Whatever you say about Southgate’s subs – and no-one could understand it – Bellingham and Harry Kane were on the pitch to deliver. Is this the near-miss event that jolts them to their senses?

“At the end of a fortnight, they still have one of the best squads here and a game to make the semi finals. They remain within touching distance of history. Of destiny. My heart is over-riding my head. This can still happen.”