A list of 50 things to blame for England being absolutely sh*te…

Editor F365
Southgate Kane England
Southgate 'has to play' one England star to help Harry Kane.

A genuinely great new England ladder kicks off a Mailbox that is largely still talking England as the Euro 2024 quarter-finals loom.

Send your views to theeditor@football365.com


A new England ladder
Suggestion to create a new England ladder – rather than a list ranking the players most likely to suffer the poisoned chalice of a call-up to the next Three Lions squad, you could do top 50 things we can blame for the relentless and crushing disappointment of being an England supporter and move them up and down based on whoever or whatever is the scapegoat-du-jour. Let me kick things off, although I’m not sure if 50 is enough based on the number of absurd reasons I’ve heard over the last few weeks.

1) The manager. Obvious thing is obvious. Must be his fault. He picks the team.

2) The Premier League. “Our league”. Too competitive and exhausts the players, despite the obvious evidence that it isn’t at all competitive.

3) Harry Kane. Never stays in the position he’s supposed to. One Season Wonder.

4) Brexit. Not sure why. Ruined everything, though.

5) Declan Rice. Someone genuinely suggested that. The mind boggles.

6) Woke lefty avocado munching metropolitan elite. For balance.

7) (NE) Man City. just seen that one in the mailbox today. Brilliant stuff.

8) The Meeja. All of you bastards heaping too much pressure on the poor players.

9) The players. All too soft to handle the pressure of the shirt.

10) The system. Never mind that Dave down the pub has 1% of the footballing tactical experience of the manager, we should be playing 4-4-fahkin’-2.

11) The weather. Too hot, cold, windy.

12) The pitch. We’ve looked up, so must we look down.

13) VAR / the referee. I’ve surprised myself with this one coming so far down my list. It’s almost like I’m just making it up as I go along rather than crafting a carefully considered ranking. Actually hasn’t been a major factor for England so far in Euro 2024, but guaranteed a debatable red card or VAR penalty heartache awaits against the Swiss so expect a fast climber here to match its head heights of number 1 spot in 1986, 1990, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010.

14) Kieran Trippier. How much money is he paid and no left foot?

15) Not being girls. The lionesses can win stuff. Maybe it’s a gender thing.

16) Phil Foden. For not being as good as Bukayo Saka.

17) Bukayo Saka. For not being as good as Phil Foden.

18) Jude Bellingham. For not being as good as Pele.

19) Slabhead. For not being available due to fitness, except when he’s available, at which point he becomes the main focus of blame for being shite.

20) Kyle Walker for being exactly the same as he has been for 10+ years.

21) Assorted other players either in the team or not in the team (John Stones, Jack Grealish, Trent, Jordan Pickford (who seems to have dodged any criticism so far), Conor Gallagher, low-alcohol beer, Rishi Sunak, Kalvin Phillips, Kier Starmer, Jose Mourinho, chemtrails, UEFA, Jordan Henderson, Bungle from Rainbow, Covid, the WAGs – don’t forget the WAGs).

49) The fans. Can’t really be our fault, though, can it? Building them all up unduly just to knock them down.

50) Phil Neville

Or others to suit your taste.
Chris Bridgeman, Kingston upon Thames

👉 Who deserves to win Euro 2024? A sentimental guide to who we’d love to see lift trophy
👉 Reasons to be cheerful about England heading into Euro 2024 quarter-finals
👉 Southgate considers England formation change as ‘first in line’ for Guehi revealed and Toney, Kane mooted


Things are adding up
1- Pretty much the entire England 1st team are underperforming.

2- The most represented club in the England 1st team are Man City

4- It’s Man City’s fault.

Dave thinks 1+2=4.

Sounds logical.


…It’s all Man City fault! Really if we had a manager who knew what he was doing it would be nearer the point and so balls to drop Kane would be a start and why he picked Shaw who isn’t fit even now !!!!!! That’s two things the the clueless loser has done Kane is never in the right place when he should be he’s lost two or three yards of pace it time we look to give someone else a chance.

He should do what most of the pundits said after the first group game – play Bellingham along side Rice play Foden as the number 11 and Gordon on the left and give Toney or Watkins a chance !!!

Southgate has won nothing as a player, manager, he’s a serial loser he dithers around leaves subs to late in ever games he is useless and needs to go he only got the job because he’s a FA yes man the best he could do is apply for a job as Burtons window dummy, and Lee Carsley or Potter aren’t the answer either.


Harry could be the new Heskey
Kane wants to drop deep.

But he’s too old, too injured, too slow to play in this England team. He’s ruining it for everyone.

So let’s give him what he wants.

Play him in attacking midfield. In the centre. Now supposedly the best passer in the team has endless runners in front of him. In particular:

Ivan Toney. Doing all the things that we want a striker to do. Doing what this team needs to create the space for its creators.

Even the golden generation needed a Heskey.
Tom E13


A sort-of defence of Gareth Southgate
To Sam in Edinburgh, what amazes me is that people can say Southgate hasn’t been a successful manager.

To be clear, I do think he’s too conservative and cautious and its time for him to go, but overall he’s been a great manager for England.

You seem to have completely ignored the fact that he’s qualified easily for every tournament he’s had and has got out of the group at all of them, usually winning it. Given that over my football-watching life (30 years or so) that’s not been a given, I think it’s pretty disingenuous to ignore that record.

But even if you do, I think he’s been solid in knock out games. Let’s look at the list of teams that you’re apparently unimpressed that he beat in 90 mins (as if winning in extra time or on pens doesn’t count):

Sweden 2018, Easily beaten. Sure, they’re not a great team but they topped a group including Germany and Mexico so they weren’t that bad. Also Germany came bottom of that group, maybe a bit of food for thought when you ignore getting out of the group as a success?

Germany 2020. Worst German team ever apparently. So you’re happy to dismiss big teams as being rubbish when it suits you but you also don’t seem to acknowledge that ‘smaller’ teams could actually be good despite not being traditional powerhouses. And given we hadn’t beaten a traditional big team in a knockout in years, I’d say it wasn’t a given.

Ukraine 2020. I’ll give you this, they were rubbish but we easily despatched them 4-0.

Senegal 2022. The African champions. They’re not just automatically rubbish because they’re an African team. Pretty easily beaten 3-0.

Failed to beat in 90 mins. Or to put it another way, beat in extra time or on pens:

Colombia 2018. Outplayed them, they equalised in the last minute and then he finally got us to win a game on pens. That’s a huge success!

Denmark 2020. You don’t really expect a team you play in a semi-final to be a pushover do you? They scored a great free kick and instead of crumbling under the pressure we came back to win.

Slovakia 2024. We’ve been terrible, no arguments there and we deserved to lose. The performance was a failure but seeing as Portugal got taken to pens by Slovenia, it can happen to anyone and at least we’re through.

The actual failures, not the ones where we won on extra time or pens:

Croatia 2018. A failure in terms of going 1-0 up and then losing but then look at the squad at the 2018 World Cup. I’m cherry picking to suit my argument but I’m sure you’d do the same – Rose, Lingard, Welbeck, Cahill, Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Loftus-Cheek, Delph. And you think getting to the semi final was a failure?

Italy 2020. Very disappointing management in this game and we should’ve pushed on after going 1-0 up but before the tournament if you’d say we’d lose in the final I don’t think you’d have said that was a failure.

France 2022. I suppose you could blame him for Kane smashing a pen over the bar but it seems harsh. This game was different from the others in that we went toe to toe with the best team in the tournament and lost a tight game. Should’ve pushed for a second a bit more at 1-1 but this was no Croatia/Italy defeat and could easily have gone a different way on another day.

Like I say, he’s not a great manager and it’s time to go but overall he’s definitely been a success for England. I find it mad when people say he should’ve won something with the players we’ve got. Yes they’re good and some are great but how many would actually get in the French team for example. A couple? And even if we did have the best players, that’s still not a guarantee that one of them won’t do something inexplicable (like smash a penalty over the bar).

I think people misunderstand what England are as a footballing nation. We’re a quarter-final team so a manager that’s got us to a semi-final, final and then quarter final plus (somehow) another quarter final and still in it has to be regarded as a success given what we’ve ‘achieved’ before.

Just because you don’t like the man and it’s ending badly, don’t let it cloud your judgement of what’s gone on before.
Sam (not Edinburgh)

👉 Who deserves to win Euro 2024? A sentimental guide to who we’d love to see lift trophy
👉 Reasons to be cheerful about England heading into Euro 2024 quarter-finals
👉 Southgate considers England formation change as ‘first in line’ for Guehi revealed and Toney, Kane mooted


And another
There have been lots of emails berating Gareth Southgate, team selections , substitutions etc, most of it justified but I would like to make a small case for the defence: the available choices in midfield. The most experienced player Southgate has is Declan Rice and he’s only 25.

All of the others are younger, Foden (does he qualify as midfield in this tournament) would be experienced, Bellingham maybe, but Mainoo, Palmer are very young. Not including Conor Gallagher or TTA as they don’t belong at the tournament or in midfield respectively.

Where are the experienced English midfielders in their prime at 27-30. You could say the fault is with Southgate for not selecting any, but look down the Premier League squads and there are none. The closest you get is Maddison, Mount or Sean Longstaff.

All the contenders have those types of players in the squad to complement the younger emerging stars. Spain have Rodri, Ruiz , Portugal have Fernandez, Silva and Neves, France Kante, Rabiot. Germany’s Kroos, Gundogan are a little older but still can perform.

For this reason I can’t see England winning this time, and I don’t blame Southgate. No doubt he will gone after the Euros, but the next manager will have all those young players coming through and if they keep progressing as the have to date, Euro 28 will be real possibility.
James Dawson


Take the S
Never have the English played more S countries than in these Euros and if it’s tricky to second guess G.S’s tactics without seeing (s)training ( for coherence) and all the unfitness data, what of Switzerland’s?

Changing their game plan to copy Slovakia’s press might be canny. How good are they anyway? Games against Duetchland and Scotland certainly muddy the picture.

Perhaps as we are 0-2 down and with 5 minutes left, the fans & hackneyed sports writers will get some of the permutations they wish for and this time, goals will come from our super substitutes.

My personal wishes would be Wharton on for Mainoo, Gordon for Foden, (Carlton) Cole Palmer will be already on by the 85th and definitely Ivan the Terrible (gambler) , who is giving off great goal-curious vibes.

Where will Southgate go after this £5 million a year job? He doesn’t seem to fit the profile for a Saudi-bound, filthy lucre follower, so more likely as a director of football somewhere , like Wrexham ? On his mid-life crisis Harley Davidson.
Peter (versus Spain, first we’ll take the Matterhorn then we’ll take ‘em in Berlin), Andalucia


A letter from the Oranje
Great performance from the Dutch, especially on the back of that 3-2 loss to Austria. Even better that they got eliminated and now we face Turkey in the quarters. Gakpo and Simons are clicking and with England/Swiss potentially in the semis, maybe we can even make a run to the finals.

Speaking of which, did y’all realize that the worse this England team performs at the Euros, the better their luck becomes. Southgate is playing 5D chess here.
Gaurav MUFC Amsterdam

READ: Who deserves to win Euro 2024? A sentimental guide to who we’d love to see lift trophy


Loving the Unpredictables
Reading Lee’s mail about unpredictable players made me think of the mesmerising, joyous, outrageous 18 months of watching Robert Prosinecki decimate Division 1 at Pompey. 30 yard screamers? Check. Nutmegs and flicks? Check. Couple of B&H at halftime? Check. Tracking back? Not for me thanks.

I’d urge anyone bored of the Euros to have look at his Pompey highlights, he beats one poor sod about 4 times in 10 seconds, absolute legend, thanks for every exhilarating second Robert.
Mark PFC