England players ‘just need to grow some balls’ like Guehi when Klopp replaces Southgate

Editor F365
Joe Gomez and Jurgen Klopp discuss Liverpool tactics
Joe Gomez talks to Jurgen Klopp

How much would Jurgen Klopp cost England for the next three weeks? And ‘some players just need to grow some balls, like Guehi did yesterday risking it all’.

Send your thoughts to theeditor@football365.com.


Quick question
Is it possible to describe a performance as “despicable”?


Klopp in
So, uh.  Exactly how much would it cost to have Klopp take over as England manager for the next 21 days?  We’ve seen it work before!
Dan, Plastic LFC


Trent out of shape
Hi F365,

Call me a crank, but I reckon if you’re going to crowbar arguably England’s best passer into midfield you should probably give him someone to aim for. As Trent scanned the field last night he would have seen his midfield partners 10 yards away barely moving, Foden and Trippier failing to provide any width on the left and, most bizarrely, Harry Kane wandering around behind him. Saka made a sporadic effort here and there, but goodness me there weren’t many options.

Then Trent’s hauled off just as England bafflingly bring on players to stretch the game. So yes, Trent wasn’t great by any means, but Southgate’s tactics didn’t exactly set him up for success. If England wanted largely pointless short passing they should have taken Curtis Jones.
Will, LFC (what was the last fun England game in a tournament?!)


Wanted to write in after the first mailbox (Southgate sack, ‘invisible’ Saka slammed, ‘obvious’ Bellingham change demanded in angry England Mailbox) to see the mood about the place.

The imbalance in the team is obvious – there’s no point playing Trent in CM without wide forwards making the runs in behind that he can find. It would have been much better if he had come on when Waktins, Bowen and Eze did – they’re the kind of players to play to his strengths. Moving Jude back (or even putting Wharton in) and getting Gordon or Bowen on the left would make a huge difference if the number 10 area is so congested. I’d also like to see Gomez at LB – Trippier’s solid but he doesn’t even pretend he can take a man on on the outside.

I know that people don’t love Southgate, but pretty much the whole team couldn’t string 3 passes together yesterday – it’s very odd. A lot of people were asking for Palmer, but if you’ve already got too many players drifting into the same area, adding one more won’t help.


Only ‘marginal tweaks’ needed
There seems now an accord that the ‘Trent role’ doesn’t work
, and Southgate has hinted as such (and as a Liverpool fan, this failure is quite helpful if Slot has been watching!). There’s growing voices of discontent now on Kane. If he’s injured, fine. drop him. If it’s his repeated lack of positional discipline in a system not built around him, drop him. If it’s form, drop him. For god’s sake, drop him. As Rio said, currently Kane is easy to defend against. He’s only been found once in nearly 150 minutes, and that was via a deflection. His friend Gary lineker damned with that post game analysis, the synopsis was he’s making defending harder, and offering nothing offensively. How he can survive that is beyond me. Reputation alone, probably.

But, beyond that – things are okay. Boring? Definitely. Good enough? Maybe yep.

I thought Foden was actually good. Hit the post, three other very good chances; two of them self made; several mazy runs to get the fans off their feet. In a City win where Haaland scores, Foden’s a ‘busy’ 8 out of 10. An England bore-draw turns that into a 5 or 6, when it shouldn’t. He did well i thought.

Guehi was very good again. Pickford was fairly strong. Trippier was far more effective; They’re obviously dropping too deep, but it is also true they aren’t conceding that many chances; I don’t really like it as a stat, but in this instance the ‘vibes’ also mirror the xg. Only 0.8 conceded? A wonder strike from distance, from an open player set up by our idiot ‘striker’ contesting a throw near his own corner flag.

Bellingham and Rice were mixed today, but both excelled in the last game. They’re a very effective duo now. They hold-and-go like Lampard and Gerrard never managed (though Gerrard and scholes did, 5:1)

Walker made the usual good overlapping runs. Saka definitely had his moments, again. And Bowen seems a good like for like substitute. The right hand side seems bolted-down now for 120 mins of knock out football… if England make it.

Two games in, and it’s been utterly tedious and perfunctory. But it’s not uncovered any fundamental flaws, and that’s how things seem to work in this tournament. Structure and fundamentals. Greece is the usual example, but I’d say Italy last time out are the epitome. They were average. They couldn’t hit a cows arse with a banjo when in the knock-out rounds. 0:0 in the 90 against Austria, relied on penalties to get past England and Spain, and outright cheating to get past Belgium. Now, obviously, they deserved their win because a) the winner deserves it in all competitions otherwise the entire concept of sport is a farce, and moreso b) because they had exceptionally well coached roles and knew what needed to be done, and kept their head far better than England.

Could this team get to the final? Yeah, maybe actually. Especially if there’s a proper debate about an ineffective Kane and a blatantly unsuitable Trent.

The winning team isn’t the best team. We can’t reasonably expect to see the John Stones and Foden that City see, as they are coached to be millimetre perfect by a better coach than southgate, and someone who has infinitely more time than southgate. Same likely true of Saka and Rice. So the plan shouldn’t be ‘how can we get the best out of these players’ but what is the most absolute basic formation and structure that might enable us to do well. I think a narrow Houllier-esque 4411 would be perfect for this lot. Think Watkins and Foden could have a field day. But either way, somewhat despite Southgate, there’s only marginal tweaks required in this sh*tshow for it to be good.
Tom G

👉 16 Conclusions on England drawing with Denmark: Southgate out, awful Alexander-Arnold, rubbish Rice
👉 England player ratings v Denmark: Trent enforces Southgate Out clamour as Kane, Bellingham struggle
👉 ‘Lost on the pitch’, ‘one good ball’, ‘didn’t work’ – 10 pundit takes on Trent Alexander-Arnold


The England tournament cycle
I can easily see this being another famous England tournament performance:

1) struggle out of the group stage

2) manager claims that it’s an achievement against such football Superpowers such as [checks notes] Denmark, Serbia, and Slovenia

3) play against weakest qualifier in first knockout match

4) put in our one convincing performing the tournament and win 3-0 (including a Kane penalty when he leaves a trailing leg for goalkeeper to hit. Media praise his “intelligence”)

5) media overhype and “It’s Coming Home”

6) ah! We actually have to play a decent side (eg Italy) in the 1/4 finals 🤦🏻‍♂️

7) plucky defeat (possibly on penalties) with 10 men after Bellingham is sent off for retaliation when he pushes an Italian who massively overreacts. Italian is slaughtered in English press; Italian is lauded as a hero in Italian press

8) Southgate resigns in tears

9) Howe/Potter appointed – process repeats every 2 years


England are mentally fragile
Following the 1-1 draw with Denmark, which isn’t the worst result in the world given its still the group stages (Argentina lost to Saudi Arabia and still managed to reach the final and win the World Cup), the knives are now out for Southgate and his team from the fans and media alike. Not a surprise really, but the support of the team is shockingly bad when things only even go slightly wrong. I understand why given the performance was bad for more than half of the game, especially the first half after Kane scored the opener. However, I think people forget Southgate has done well with England overall , but in the bigger games and when his side goes in front especially, tactically he is inept and just isn’t learning from his mistakes from previous tournaments. I have no idea why he decided to set the team out to defend so deep initially against Denmark and then insisted his team drop back a further yards as soon as it was 1-0 to England yesterday. Tactically he isn’t showing any awareness and cannot change tactics midway through the game to make England a threat.

The fact that Southgate is playing it “too safe” is inviting way too much pressure on his team. Next game, he needs to make it very simple and play Rice, Bellingham & Foden in midfield, with Bellingham sitting slightly deeper. He should have enough quality and maturity to do so, and did it earlier in his career. Bellingham isn’t playing for Madrid with Rodrygo & Vinicius Jr upfront, he is playing for England with just Harry Kane upfront, you can see there is absolutely no link up play between them, plus Rodrygo & Vinicius can actually dribble and drop back to defend. Play Gordon on the left and Saka on the right for some pace and trickery, so they can actually get into threatening positions, and truth be told, Southgate has no choice but to keep the defence the same. Unless he decides to play Walker LB and Trent RB. Trippier is a good defender and I like him, but isn’t showing any threat going forward.

Look I think people need to remember Southgate isn’t the only one that needs to step up their game, but his game management does suck. Rice was bloody terrible and looked as nervous as a student driver going onto the motorway for the first time, Foden looks lost on the left and Kane isn’t getting into any useful positions either, but given the service and tactics are pretty negative, not entirely his fault. Some players just need to grow some balls, like Guehi did yesterday risking it all, and start playing to the best of their ability. The team can turn it around against Slovenia next game if they just play with a bit more attacking threat and self belief, and if they win the game, they top the group and done there part for now.

However, if England do play against Germany or France eventually, they need to play the game of their lives because currently they are tactically so behind the other teams. Even Spain or Portugal would be able to beat this England team currently. Mental fragility is something England need to get out of there system, it was panic stations at times yesterday and its way too early to show signs of that.
Rami, Dubai

READ NEXT: Southgate hands in England resignation letter with ‘we don’t have natural replacement for Phillips’ excuse


The impossible job
.. it really is. Saw an article in the guardian from Barney Ronay wondering where all this ‘pressure’ on England comes from? And literally in the sentence above he refers to England as the ‘semi-favourites’ of Euro 24. ..  Life is essentially simple, isn’t it? It’s reality v expectation. When the gap between the two becomes too vast..

England have some very good players and some decent players. They have a decent coach. Let’s give the whole side a collective ‘B’. We would expect to go fairly deep in the tournament and lose to an ‘A’ side  (France, Spain, Germany)

Which is inevitably what will happen. But instead of being happy with qualifying and going on a run, enjoying tournament life, we’re weighed down with the impossible and self-inflicted tag of expectation. No-one in Europe had us marked down as favourites. Why can’t we lean into our averageness? Play like a championship side away at a PL side in the FA Cup? Enjoy it!  And perhaps decide upon a system and use players that fit it?
Dan, London


It’s not Bellingham or Foden…
….it’s Bellingham or Foden + Rice.

Bellingham, in his brilliance, is throwing off the balance of the entire midfield. Rice and Foden are pushed out of their best positions to accommodate Jude’s colossal talent at the centre of the pitch. He’s also obviously knackered. So give him a rest and test out my theory that England’s big issue in midfield is having arguably the current best player in the world fucking it for everyone else.

Also Kane isn’t fit. Gareth, for the love of God please give him and us a break on Tuesday. Pickford; Walker, Stones, Guehi, Shaw; Mainoo; Foden, Rice; Saka, Watkins, Palmer
Jonathan, Sheffield 


Can fans know better than a manager?
After England’s latest bid to show not every game at Euro 2024 has to be exciting I imagine there will be a lot of responses. Among them will be:

A load of people offering alternative players/formations that may be better, followed by a bunch of people saying ‘you think you know better than a professional football manger, don’t be stupid’.

Complaints at the performance followed by Irish/Welsh/Scottish fans saying ‘you English always complain that’s why we don’t like you and want you to lose!’.

On point 1, why can’t some fans know better than the manager? Football management is a closed shop, open only to ex-players. Without sounding mean, if you take the average level of intelligence and critical thinking skills of a footballer it’s probably lower than the population average. So even relatively successful/intelligent managers are kind of only winning a fastest snail race.

For example, many people predicted playing someone who has been a right back for the vast majority of his career in midfield, no matter how talented, was a bad idea. Or that having a 33-year-old right back as your squad’s best fit ‘left back’ was stupid. Or that compounding that lack of width by having someone who constantly wants to drift inside as your left sided attacker was silly. Without hindsight many of us thought it would end up as it did tonight, except Gareth apparently.

On point 2, in isolation I get why Irish/Welsh/Scottish fans passionately want England to lose. In isolation I get why the same Irish/Welsh fans support English clubs such as Man Utd and Liverpool rather than TNS or Shamrock Rovers. But both at once I don’t get, it seems a little performative.

Furthermore, we have plenty of mailboxing from such fans complaining when Liverpool and Man Utd play badly. Even though supporters of, say, Luton or Rotherham, would love to have such ‘problems’. It’s almost as if many football fans get narky if performances don’t meet (inflated) expectations and, when it comes to England, this is just a convenient stick with which to beat.

All that said, ahead of the knock outs (I think we’re mathematically there), Gareth really does need to find some bandages for his self-inflicted wounds.
Ronnie Buzzard, Manchester


England’s new left-sided problem
Dear Editor,

If Southgate deployed a player who was actually willing to run down the left side touch line and send in a few crosses to Kane or Foden like Anthony Gordon would he’d gain around 20 yards up the field and the risks associated with losing the ball at the end of the run would not lead to catastrophic turnovers and shots. By playing the ball centrally to opposing players with 10 yards of space, like false 7 Harry Kane, managed for the Danish equalizer, Kane produced the best cross of the match, to Denmark. Ah England. Muh England.


Euro 2024 is good
Hello Mailbox.

My thoughts on the euros so far.

Excellent refereeing – fair, consistent, common sense prevailing. The officials have been so good they’ve barely been noticeable.

Teams going for it (with, excuse me, one exception). What’s really come across in the early stages are teams going for it and basically wanting to show off – embracing the knowledge that the eyes of the continent are on them and saying “look at what we can do”. In stark contrast to that team who shall not be named(, England). Traditionally smaller nations are playing vibrant, progressive stuff with confidence, it’s been brilliantly entertaining at times.

Fans – I love how the supporters of nearly every country seems to have unanimously agreed beforehand to all wear their countries’ home colour. It’s bonkers. Not like the general majority wearing a mixture of their teams home and away shirts, but dense blocks of one colour, striking when it was Holland in particular.

Competitive – the World cup often has more dud teams but this tournament in particular feels as if any team would give any other a close game. Besides Scotland against the best, no dis intended.

Punditry – Roy Keane is amusing in a banter-y sort of way and though I’m a Liverpudlian, Gary Neville can on rare occasions be compelling listening, but Thomas Frank has been the only good, insightful pundit so far.

READ NEXTRio Ferdinand 19th: All 25 Euro 2024 pundits ranked as BBC, ITV announce broadcasting teams

It’s a pet hate of mine through the regular season European games, but our pundits are generally lazy and uninformed and narrow-minded – you know, predicting wins for English teams against supposed lesser teams on no good basis other than ‘haven’t heard of them’. It points to a lack of research and a little Englander mentality to me. Give me an informed watcher of the game as a pundit over a gobby ex-pro any day of the week. Maybe this is what people refer to when they talk of English arrogance, who knows.

England – I expected quarters/semi’s (Portugal were my pre-tournament pick, I’m now leaning towards Germany) prior to the tournament and having been a fan of Southgate based on previous tournament progress, I’m shocked at how bad we’ve been. It’s not hyperbolic to say that we have been the worst watch and the biggest disappointment. I think we’ll improve but not to the point that we could overcome other teams with good individuals but who have an actual plan that uses their strengths.

I could be satisfied with not winning the thing if the journey into the knockout stages was at least enjoyable. A lot can change, but I wouldn’t fancy us to beat Turkey or Holland at this stage, let alone the likes of Portugal, Germany, Spain or France.

Best wishes everybody,


I’ve just watched England qualify for the knockout stages. I was born in 1968 and this wasn’t’ always simple, especially in the 80s when I fell in love with football.

In my local tonight, loads of people, tattooed all over their arms, some quite obese, and most I’d never seen before, kept telling me Southgate “was a ****”. When Declan Rice kicked it off for a threatening corner from no threat at all, it was Southgate’s fault. When Bellingham gave it away for the umpteenth time, Southgate… you ****. Kane not scoring three goals, “southgate…”

It’s not totally Southgate’s fault when good players play rubbish.

I grew up watching teams like Italy win stuff by getting three draws in groups games. My pub tonight was full of slavering morons screaming at the tele in the last five minutes to “get in the f***ing box, “go for it you overpaid ******” and “i could pick a team better than that “woke w***er”.

If England had charged forward and Denmark hit them on the break can you imagine the press?

When pressed, all of them agreed that picking Kane, Saka, Foden, and Bellingham was correct. Not one could criticise the initial team (OK TAA debatable) but, wow, everyone, including people being sick. knew better after about 30 seconds.

Why are so many people so angry watching something they purport to enjoy?
Davey A Broxbourne (I think reform might win judging by tonight)


England: a short story
England are sh*t and always have been. Regardless of the quality of player. England are w*nk.

The Southgate apologists can p*ss off.
Will – England will win nothing with Southgate