Southgate ‘bottled it’ but should drop at least three players – and two ‘should never play for England again’

Editor F365
England players argue after conceding to Slovakia at Euro 2024
England need some huge changes against Switzerland and in the near future

Gareth Southgate should drop at least three players – and two should never feature for England again. But he ‘bottled it’ then and will change nothing.

Send your thoughts to


Appoint Simon S
have got to gamble. Time to bring Toney on.
Simon S, Cheshire


Mid-game mails are always fun
My God, the world and his dog could see the issues with the team, playing a right back at left back, playing a 10 on the left wing, Walker under performing.. Southgate’s refusal to resolve these problems means he must go no matter what happens from now on on.. Give Palmer, Gordon ago when there is time to turn this around.. shockingly poor !!
Scouse Chris


WTF am I watching? Not even the ponderous, paranoid football. That’s been the schtik this tournament.

Southgate – just f***ing CHRIST that was bad. Squad selection, team balance, all wrong: and then, as if he hasn’t f***ed up enough, in potentially his last 45mins as England manager does not throw the kitchen sink at Slovakia. It’s in the 90th minute and still no shot on target. Like for like with Palmer on the right and Eze on for a very decent Mainoo.

WHY is Kane still on the pitch???

Off to the Tower with you Gareth, or Coventry.

(MC – five minutes later he sent a mail which simply read ‘Southgate still needs locking up for crimes to the country.’)


Writing this as England are 1 nil down so i may be proved wrong but Southgate and the team do realise that they are 20 minutes from being knocked out don’t they? Dreadful – no inspiration, motivation and tactical surprises for Slovakia to deal with.

Gareth Southgate is like David Brent (except he doesn’t do dances for charity or play guitar, as far as I am aware). Clueless.
Tom (one of many, it’s a good group)


Gareth Southgate is a truly horrendous manager.  We’re 80 minutes into this match and the only thing he can think of to affect some kind of change in this game is something Wrighty said on TV a week ago. Truly awful.
MAW, LA Gooner (Great strike from Rice.) 


Irrespective of the result, not making a substitution until the 60th minute with that performance is essentially a sackable offence.

👉 16 Conclusions on England limping past Slovakia: Southgate out and at least three players need dropping
👉 England player ratings v Slovakia: Bellingham and Kane poor but decisive as Walker struggles


Southgate won’t change
A 95th minute goal which let us off the 4th game in a row of a dismal England tournament. The lack of movement was frustrating but the lack of timely subs was an absolute disgrace. Big changes were needed and Southgate bottled it to protect his favourite players as he always does. I couldn’t even bring myself to celebrate the late equaliser such was my frustration at the rest of the game.

I so want this (and every) England team to do well but I will be amazed if Southgate doesn’t still start the same team next game that has struggled every game so far. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes this game as some sort of vindication for what should be classed as almost negligence from an England manager.

Any other manager watching this would surely now drop Foden, Saka and Walker at the least.

We foolishly expected so much more than this, we only have ourselves to blame for that I guess. ..
Hugh (London)



I wish Gareth had been this lucky when he managed The Boro.

James Clarke, Dundalk ( One Job on Teesside) 


If you’re lucky enough for long enough, you’ll get there in the end.
Aidan, Lfc (one day)


If anyone thinks Southgate’s process and plan was responsible for that win, including planning a last minute overhead kick equaliser they need their head examining.

Handbrake released by necessity at the start of extra time given how many actual attackers were on the pitch. Watch it go back to the usual team and formation next


Why does he hate Anthony Gordon so much?
Simple question. Why did Southgate pick Gordon for the squad if he hates the player so much?


Win the lot and be bad
I so so hope that we continue to win and play really bad. Imagine how confused everyone in the media will be?

“Gareth,  your selection is bad, the football is dull, your substitutions and tactics are terrible.”

“Yeah but we won”

Absolutely hilarious

Phil avfc 


That was an emotional rollercoaster, Southgate is playing 4D chess.

First half awful, second half not much better, everyone I’m sure was saying what the frack is he doing not making any substitutions.

Bellingham boom. Kane boom.

30 more minutes of retreating 20 yards but we get over the line…

Unconventional to say the least and Southgate is going to die on his hill or win the whole thing!
Brian (exhausted) BRFC


That performance was kind of a microcosm of where the nation’s at, at the moment – confused, timid, at odds with itself, devoid of any confidence and spinelessly terrified of offending anyone at all, including the opposition…

..whilst somehow, unfathomably, continuing to avoid utter disaster, for the time being so at least 🙂
Stef, Medway


The worst kind of stupid
Winning has never looked so dumb.

The complete lack of plan with substistutions was astonishing. The paralysis clear on an incompetent man’s face. Switzerland will be delighted.

You would think from that many lessons will be learned. Walker and Trippier should never play, let alone start, for England again. As my Newcastle supporting mate says, Trippier would be Newcastle’s 5th choice English LB.

But no. We will play the same line up next Saturday, the most talented lambs to the slaughter.

What a waste. What a hollow victory.
Tom, Walthamstow 


Can we be satisfied with that? We have a very talented attacking team but had to wait for the 95th minute for our first shot on target…. a superb goal!

I wanted Kane off at half time but he goes and scores later on.

Good players but poor management and poor watching…Spain v Georgia much more entertaining.

Can we win this tournament by raising our standards? Hmmmm!?
Chris, Croydon


Well that was terrible and wonderful at the same time. I was wrong, I really thought Slovakia would do an Iceland on us. And until the 95th minute they nearly did. Yes we have to improve drastically to beat Switzerland in the Quarter-finals and we can only hope we will. England obviously would be nothing without Jude and Harry.
Dan, London


If you ask yourself what you want from football, and the answer is not ‘an undeserved equaliser from a 95th minute Jude Bellingham bicycle please mate’ then I do not think you get this game. In the words of one Rio Ferdinand, “just enjoy it man”.
Simon CFC


Thoughts through the evening
Pre-match: one change, minimum required, but that’s ok… at least 90m with a semi-working side, and now we’re at the knock-outs, surely it must be a better performance…

Prediction: 3-0

First half: Mainoo looking tidy, Bellingham and Saka alert and more eager. Positive. And then… Trippier… FML. A hospital pass to get our centre back a yellow and a ban for the next game. Hilarious attempted shot in huge space that hasn’t yet come down. Card happy ref is dishing them out like skittles, including a ridiculous yellow for Mainoo after some lovely touches. Hilarious cross attempt from Walker with four to aim at that’s nowhere near anyone in white. But we are fashioning things.

Meanwhile, they look dangerous. And boom, a goal from another defensive screwup, after a few warnings go unheeded. Passing is all over the place, Walker in particular but not just him, just mostly. A little pressure and we retreat 20 yards. Stones keeps seeing Walker in space and refusing to pass to him. To be fair, I get it, but it’s not good.

F**k my hopeful positivity.

Bellingham and Mainoo trying to make things happen. Foden barely in the game, Saka trying but both keep getting muscled off. Kane needs to get off the pitch, doing nothing useful, summed up by his attempted shot as last kick off the half.

Second half: no subs. Bloody hell. Being pressed back to the edge of – and into – our own penalty area from the off. Nice move but Foden offside, again. More probing passes at least. Sloppy 5 yard pass between defenders almost costs us the most ridiculous goal. Some brighter moments, a few driving runs and passes but all ending in something hopeful instead of considered. No one seems willing to make the runs behind. So much playacting and the card friendly referee has suddenly turned lenient on some definite yellows.  74m and still just one sub. Is Kane still on just to be the face of the failure? Lovely ball in, Kane heads wide from a great position. So I guess so.

Saka at left back but keeps cutting in-field. Is he proving that he can’t play there?  Mainoo makes another driving run only to realise there’s no one from the forward line ahead of him lol. Solid effort from Rice for nearly our first shot on target, but back off the post. In the 80th minute. Eze comes on to do the eager running of Mainoo. 92 minutes, still only two subs. Just throw on all the strikers and Trent to ping long balls in. Anything. Anything at all. 94, Toney comes on. 96, And finally a goal! Nice head-on from Guehi and a lovely overhead kick from our best player. Rescued with the dying breath and our first shot on target!

Surely time to change things and push on. Extra time: inevitably, no changes. Toney rescues a terrible shot attempt to head back across and Kane actually hits the target! Who knew playing an actual striker would make a difference? Seriously though, can Southgate really not see the problem with that?

Eze saves our bacon with a quality block at the back post as our new left back (wtf?) but we’re spending almost the entire second half of extra time inviting pressure. A few very close calls, but somehow scrape the win (against a team 40 places below).

Summary: f***ing Christ. Somehow we blagged our way through. Some lovely moments and a lot of absolutely terrible ones. Southgate will feel vindicated in keeping with Kane in spite of that header being his only good moment. Mainoo did as much as he could, but too much else was wrong. Walker had his worst performance, bar a 10 minutes patch right at the end, that I’ve ever seen. So, we can be sure no changes for the next one.

So much for my prediction, we didn’t even manage 3 shots on target in 120 minutes. Jesus wept. On to the next 90+ minutes of torture.
Badwolf (I want some of Gareth’s luck)

READ NEXTSlovakia boss reacts to Declan Rice bust-up and slams England tactic in dramatic last-16 clash


No words
Honestly, I was half on BBQ duties and half watching the game but didn’t we start quite well? I thought we looked half way dangerous and to be moving the ball quicker. Nipped to the fridge for a beer, came back we were a goal down and it had all gone to shit.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting we looked like world beaters but the stats are in our favour, more possession, more shots at goal, more touches in the oppositions box, more yellow cards (Christ that ref was awful).

After the goal I think we were pretty bad though and seemed shell shocked. I really didn’t think they would pull it around and actually turned it off, which was nice as I didn’t have to listen to Sam Matterface but also not nice as I could see the time ticking. Couldn’t stand it so tuned back in for the last 5 minutes and we are still going. Then, wow! What a goal. Then, bam! We are in front. Knew then that they would sit back but had no idea all ambition to get the ball would be left behind. I really don’t get it. It’s not like we look really solid when we do it, maybe it’s perception but it just looks like we are scared to lose rather than confident we can see it out.

And yet we won, and yet these players still seem like a decent bunch, and yet they really seem to love Southgate. Maybe that’s why we should believe? They are together, they are a collective. They could win the thing but this cautious (and it really is overly-cautious) approach is so hard to watch it’s not really enjoyable and doesn’t feel like we can rely on it to win. That last 25 minutes of extra time sucked the life out of me, there is no joy in suffering.

Switzerland is going to be a tough, tough game, I can’t for the life of me see how we get past them. Swapping players out won’t be enough, southgate is going to think hard about how we set up – think we’ll need a new system entirely. But, maybe, just maybe that suits him?
Tom (Barbie was lovely)


Get him to Old Trafford
I’ve been greatly enjoying the Euros (and to some lesser extent, the Copa) tournaments, but if you’re anything like me, you also have mind to your respective clubs and club competitors throughout your summer watching brief.

And so it suddenly dawned on me that Gareth Southgate is, without question, truly the most singularly on-brand appointment Manchester Utd could possibly make for themselves once Ten Hag inevitably craps the bed next season to finally see himself out that decrepit Old Trafford door.  No wonder the links have been there for ages.

Gareth and ETH are managerial mirror images, and maybe even spiritual ones, both of whom further a consistent succession of Utd bosses with absolutely no pitch-side compass and appear shrinking imposters on the touchline, hiding behind furrowed brows and meaningless gesticulations.  They’re almost like football manager twins that share a brain.  Imperceptible tactical identities ?  Check.  Meandering one-note game plans ?  Check.  Zero patterns of play ?  Check.  Set piece ineptitude both for and against ?  Check and check.  A marked lack of in-game decision making or identifiable Plan B or intuitive substitutions to change circumstances ?  Check, check, check all and sundry.  Pulling fully undeserved results out of the fire, at the death, on miraculous moments of often flukey individual intervention ?  Um, CHECK !!!

Jude’s bike kick equaliser was no fluke, mind, but Southgate is far and away the best placed name to continue Man Utd’s post-SAF managerial lineage.  Even his deluded comments at the final whistle unmistakably echo Ten Hag, and Solsjkaer before that.  I don’t buy Ineos’ extension of Ten Hag’s contract at all, it’s clearly for the optics.  I’m telling you, Utd and Southgate, it’s written in the stars.
Eric, Los Angeles  CA  (Whether it’s in the stars England ride this momentum to the crown…  we shall see.  But it wouldn’t be much to Gareth’s credit or nous or rizz in my opinion.  He’s only a figurehead, just as he’d be for Utd.)