We need your mails for the afternoon mailbox. Send your thoughts to email@example.com…
It’s coming home
I’m probably in the minority here but I already thought England was the winner even before a ball was kicked in the Euros final.
That was only the second final England have ever played and coming off the back of a World Cup semi, that to me speaks of massive progress.
We have an extraordinarily young squad and many of those players had never played in a major tournament before and yet some are still calling for Southgate’s head.
Both Bobby Robson and Terry Vegetables managed no further than their semi final matches but Gareth stuck around and got us to a final.
Is it really such a big jump to think England, with an infinitely more experience team, will make cross that final hurdle and actually win the thing at the end of next year?
Tony Adams always said he learned more than defeat than victory – if our boys can do that, then why can’t we be World Champions next year?
That’s not arrogance or wishful thinking – we really are one of the best teams in the world at the moment.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Martinez for England?
I’m fully behind the idea from ‘JP Music City’.
Lets replace Southgate with a man who has achieved less with an arguably better group of players just because Southgate might not be nasty enough to players behind closed doors.
…Spat out my coffee then. Martinez for England?
He couldn’t take the World ranked #1 team to a Euro’s or WC final. Even Southgate has that one him.
No ta. With the squad at his disposal its a dismal failure for Belgium’s golden generation.
Mat, Dismayed, Liverpool
Apologies if I’ve already missed the boat on this, I’ve been in a self-imposed news blackout all week as a result of my depression after Sunday’s events.
While it is easy to point the finger at meathead racists, after all they are meatheads, maybe our ire should be directed elsewhere. I’m not an expert on this* but it can’t be that difficult to write an algorithm to stop racist abuse on social media platforms at source. It’s a simple way to protect our heroes and silence the stupid, meathead minority.
Ok, you could call this censorship, and argue for free speech, but if you’re abusive in life you should expect to be censured. Try shouting w**ker at Boris Johnson in real life**.
* Actually my wife is a data scientist and assures me it would take only a few hours to write such an algorithm.
** When I shouted w**ker at Boris in Downing St, a policeman stopped me and claimed foul and abusive behaviour. When I pointed out we all w**k – I do, he does, and Boris probably does – and therefore I was merely stating a fact, he just told me to f**k off.
Fans should evolve like the team
Dear football fwends, Just a quick observation on England and English football. It seems like the nation is at an interesting crossroads where there is an apparent disconnect between what’s happening on and off the pitch.
On the pitch, the team has modernized tremendously over the last 5 years following the initial introspections after the 2010 World Cup pounding to a young German team. The on-pitch progress is a clear result of humble self realization. The FA and powers around the national team were willing to go and listen beyond the national borders, learn, and then work hard on a blueprint to restore the damaged reputation of England as a constantly underachieving failure on the pitch. Even the conservative nature of the football this tournament is at it’s heart an admission and reflection of the respect the players and manager have for the teams they play. Understanding that it’s not enough to just expect England to beat the opposition based on star names on paper alone. Instead, the last 3 years has changed many opinions of what England represents on the pitch: humble, quietly confident, proud, and with a plan that seems to be shifting through gears on an upward trajectory. While England have not yet reached the pinnacle of success and further tests remain, you can be pretty sure most fans around the world willing to be objective are fully aware of the progress the team has made between 2018 to 2021 in terms of squad depth, tactical flexibility, and maturity, and that this team has the makings of a real international force.
Unfortunately, off the pitch, the perception of English fans remains stuck in history. While the team moves forward thanks to an open minded, proud but humble approach, there is a gruesomely loud element that refuses to learn the mistakes of the past. I don’t mean people singing “it’s coming home” given if the words of a football song make one sound arrogant then we should all forget about “you’ll never beat the Irish” or “TEAM X, we’re by far the greatest team the world has ever seen”. Its the serious stuff. The harassing of other fans, abusing black players, smashing up their own city. This reputation matters: it’s why Russians awaited England fans in Marseille, it’s why club fans pay the debt when they go abroad and get heavy handed treatment by local police. It’s why England keep bidding for tournaments and failing.
England fans have begged for their team to give them something to cheer about for many years, and they’ve responded. It’s now the team who deserve fans who represent their values. Most England fans want to follow England without constant derision from other fans, to feel proud without having to feel shame, guilt, or even fear. So every England fan – particularly the bellends – really should take a moment to reflect on whether they want to learn from history and use it to move forward like the football team and restore their reputation for the clear advantages that brings to them as explained. Or remain stuck in the dark ages, constantly targeted as an embarrassment, including to the very players who – in a twist of irony – are actually giving them a reason to be proud of being English in the first place.
Keeper of the faith
I am not a genius but does Harry THFC also know goalkeepers are also paid professionals who practice everyday (perhaps) how to save penalties?
Pastor John Wakabira, A football loving pastor, Nairobi, Kenya
Saka would have been booked
In response to Andrew, Canada. If it was a red card, it probably would have went to VAR who would have seen Saka handle the ball to keep it in play. Italy free, no card for Chiellini and yellow for Saka.
Maguire is the problem
As a Man U fan, I’ve resisted the temptation to write in over the years, following our somewhat dysfunctional operation and fortunate experiences as a club. I’ve read various posts and glad to see that as a nation we’re slowly starting to realise the importance of central midfield maestros. I cannot stress the importance of such a player and would pay an arm and leg for the right candidate.
Yes you may hear all the talk around Carrick but our secret weapon was always Scholes. He was heavily underappreciated and is only starting to gain the recognition he deserves. Watching Scholes is such an educating experience, on how I believe the game should be played. Short passes to soak up pressure and retain possession, when the opposing team was picking up momentum. Then pinpoint, long passes to release Ronaldo, Tevez etc. to start an attack. But for all his composure, skill and vision (heard a myth, he’s nearly blind in 1 eye), he’d also get stuck in when needed.
A maestro is key and if you’re really fortunate, you’ll have multiple players of the same mould. Ie Barca; Xavi, Iniesta, Bousquets (& Messi, they really took the p***). Or a Man C replica Bryne, Silva, Gundogan.
However it’s time for us to be honest with ourselves and accept our MAJOR flaw. Harry Kane and Sterling didn’t set the world alight. However our attack was restricted, due to a lack of service. The ball didn’t reach our front men because our midfielders, mainly had defensive roles. Our ‘wing backs’ weren’t exactly adventurous. And all of this, just to protect our Cb’s Maguire & Stones. They are the weak links. I can’t speak too much on Stones but as a Man U fan, I’m truly baffled how Maguire is at the heart of our defence. Almost laughable. He CAN NOT be trusted in ANY 1 on 1 scenarios and we casually overlook the fact of how slow and rigid he is. In today’s modern game, it’s unacceptable. If he read the game and was 1 step ahead, I’d understand. But his positioning leaves a lot to be admired. How do we rate him as the bedrock of the team, when we have to over compensate to protect him?
I may be chastised for my thoughts but I shared the same belief on overhyped players such as Lingaard and Rashford
If you take a deeper look, you’ll see glaring similarities between Man u & England because of Maguire. In both cases, we have to sacrifice attacking or possession based players, in favour of defensive duos, to protect the defence. If we had a trusted CB pairing, we could begin to focus on the CM conductor. Who would retain the ball in tight scenarios, especially when trying to protect a lead. Then dictate tempo, and speed up play to set up attacks. Something England has always lacked. Yes a high football IQ is needed for this role and it’s a factor we greatly overlook in this country. Where instead, we applaud hard running and big headers.
In conclusion; accept Maguire & Stones are overhyped. Replace them with defenders, who are slightly more athletic and maybe less comfortable on the ball. Accept they may make odd mistakes but have confidence in the fact they won’t be as brutally exposed in 1 on 1s. Encourage ball playing midfielders and build a team around such a player. We can all see that Foden and Grealish have such abilities. Then field and release at least 3 attackers, to go for it!
It can’t be that hard – Can it?
PS. Can we please stop calling Henderson world class! If he’s world class, then what’s Modric, Kante, Zidane, Pirlo, Iniesta, Xavi
… Oh, Konate is taking 5… awww, what implications does it mean? Oh, any added pressure due to that?…
For fk’s sake, who cares?!! Can esteemed journalists just stop coming up with such drivel… nobody cares!!!
Oh wait, it’s not just me, is it?