Judge Southgate on England’s World Cup performance, not the sodding Nations League…

Date published: Monday 26th September 2022 9:40 - Ian Watson

England manager Gareth Southgate before the Nations League defeat to Italy.

The Mailbox discusses the suggestion of Harry Redknapp managing England, while there is a plea for perspective over calls for Gareth Southgate to go.

Get your views in to theeditor@football365.com


Harry for England
Badwolf; Whilst I agree that Harry Redknapp would definitely bring a much needed feel good factor to the England squad on the eve of what is surely Sepp Blatter and his former FIFA chums ultimate wet dream, the Qatar World Cup, I do need to point out that your faith that he will pick players based on form and not nostalgia or a misguided loyalty is to not understand Harry at all. This is the man who signed Defone, Crouchy and Niko Kranjcar three times each! If you looked up nostalgia or misplaced loyalty in the dictionary there would be footnote referring Harry Redknapp.

Harry loves nothing more than getting the band back together for one last hooray – I can only imagine that Defoe, Crouchy and the entire “golden generation” are eagerly glancing at their phones.

They’d make it to the Round of 16 after two goalless draws and a flukey 1 nil win to sneak out of the d group, before putting spanked by one of the big boys and sent back to Blighty. Still…would be more fun than watching Southgate trying to get a tune out of some of the extremely talented individuals in this current England squad.

Most players will be lucky to go to even one World Cup in their careers and the fact that it only comes round once every 4 years means the FA should act decisively to replace Southgate now and bring in someone like Poch or Zidane just on a short contract til the end of the World Cup and see what they can do.

Both managers are used to working with big personalities and, in Zidane’s case, have experience of winning knock out comps, including world cups. The players would get a boost, if the tactics and systems they implement are relatively straightforward then the players should pick it up fast. The squad, in certain areas, is extremely talented and if a new manager can give them that self belief then they could make a positive impact at the tournament. But stick with Southgate and I think Round of 16.will be all she wrote.


Ranking England’s build-up to major tournaments since 2000. Never worse than now


Midfield formula
There were two letters in the last mailbox (from Joe and Tom) talking about how playing two defensive midfielders is part of England’s problem.

I’d like to just throw in a couple of observations:
– England reached the final of Euro 2021 and only lost out on penalties after playing two defensive midfielders in every game
– in five competitive internationals since then (all in the Nations League) he’s played two defensive midfielders only once, when he got a draw away to Germany. In the other four games we played a single defensive midfielder and managed one draw from four games.

I don’t understand why there’s not a clamour to get two defensive midfielders back in the team. Oh, and Henderson should be in the squad as cover for Rice and Phillips so we can still play two DMs when one of them’s injured.
Steve Mills


Reassessing Southgate’s record
Neil, LFC, USA asks if Southgate has done well in the previous two tournaments.

By comparison to our performances in recent previous tournaments prior to the 2018 World Cup he has. Reaching a first major final in 55 years would be considered as doing well.

“England managed to get the easiest draws in both of these tournaments and never beat anyone of note, except a woeful German side.”

Nobody was complaining about only beating a woeful German side last summer. And yes they were woeful but they could still have turned us over if we had played poorly which fortunately we didn’t.
Dan, London


It’s the Nations League, FFS
Has anyone who’s writing in to complain about Southgate and the England team during the Nations League stopped to consider that it might be because… it’s the Nations League?! It’s the most Mickey Mouse, waste of time, unimportant set of games and I’m sure the players can’t be arsed with it and are just trying to avoid injury ahead of the WC. Likewise, I’m sure the club managers have told the players not to over-commit to it… there are only a few players truly playing to get into the WC squad and I’m sure Southgate knows his first 11 already anyway.
Maybe he’s not driven them on and maybe they’ve not played well, but seriously, it’s the Nations League. Who gives a sh*t?!


Man Utd target Christian Eriksen laughs with a team-mate

Danish dark horses
After an unluckily semi final defeat at the euros, Denmark are a good shout for dark horses in this World Cup.
France, who are among the favourites , are in their group and Denmark have just swatted them aside in a competitive match, impressively going under the radar, I’ll be looking forward to their knock out matches.
I wonder how many Danes will make the trip to the Middle East? In previous European world cups they’ve had a large, jolly band of support and this time they can escape the dark, cold winter evenings so good luck to them.
Peter (you’d’ve thought Eriksen would’ve retired from international football eh?) Andalucia


Your biased comments about Mark Lawrenson were typical, you’ll be saying women’s football isn’t substandard crap next.
Lee Howard


The Emirates was special on Saturday but…
I think my abiding memory of Arsenal’s demolition of Spurs at the weekend was that young girl’s reaction to getting Beth Mead’s autograph.

The awe in her face at meeting our number nine was clear to see and reminded me of the time I brushed past Dennis Bergkamp at a golf club, and I was so shocked that all I could say was the name Dennis Bergkamp for five minutes afterwards. I’d like to say this incident happened when I was a kid – but it was only this Spring!

A good proportion of the fans at the Emirates at the weekend were young fans from both sides of North London. We know a good number of the
crowds this summer were from the same demographic so why the hell are the BBC screening highlights of WSL matches at 12.25am at a time they should be showing The Warriors, The Lost Boys or other fare suited to the early hours of the morning?

If we’re going to grow the game, and North London just set a record attendance yet again, then why aren’t the highlights being shown at an earlier time – perhaps in the teatime slot just before Strictly?

The audience is there and it’s only growing in number so why don’t the BBC give them what they want?
Graham Simons, Gooner, (top of the Premier and WSL Leagues – lovely stuff) Norf London

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