Do we all owe Mourinho an apology over Harry Kane?

Date published: Sunday 20th June 2021 8:40 - Ian Watson


The fallout to England’s draw with Scotland continues in the Mailbox. And there’s more on Monday morning for you here.

Get your views in to…


What’s happened to Harry Kane?
Watching last night, it’s hard to see how Kane won the golden boot, was it a Mourinho masterclass? Is he injured? Does he want to devalue himself? Whatever it is he was absolutely terrible, genuinely shocking. We need movement up top with the solid midfield base but Kane couldn’t do anything, no space, no pace, no passing, no shooting. If he starts another game we won’t get past the quarters, if we’re lucky. You have Sterling and Foden who are both used to flitting around mobile midfielders instead of a striker but last night they had a rock to play with.

Everyone is having a go at Gareth but I don’t see anything wrong with the gameplay and tactics but it needs your talisman to actually play. As long as that includes Harry Kane in this form, then Gareth will continue to look stupid. Then again if you see it not working, you need to change it and he isn’t so maybe he isn’t good enough. Either way, something has to start clicking and fast. Teams have started tournaments worse and gone on to win…

Quick note to Scotland though who were immense, fully deserved the 3 points they just didn’t get. Hopefully they go through because they can give plenty of favourites a run for their money
Rob A (front 3 of Sancho, Foden and Grealish and let them terrorise defenses) AFC


F365 Says: Merci France, we feel better about England now


Misery loves company
Completely understand the instinct to seek comfort and reassurance for England’s insipid performances from other teams’ struggles. However, how any comfort can be taken from a game in which France had more shots on-target than England managed on-and-off target against an inferior position is beyond me.

France were casual in most things, including their finishing, throughout the game and rescued a draw against a spirited and clearly capable Hungary team in Budapest. England toiled and huffed and puffed, and bar a header from a corner kick, created not very much at all against a spirited but limited Scotland side.

France have problems, yes. Griezman and Mbappe would be wasted where they are being played to accommodate Benzema, were it not for their ability to still affect the game by creating and scoring goals. Varane has shown vulnerability in defence. But this is a team which slowly throttled Germany who in-turn pounded a Portugal team with quality.

Find coping mechanisms by all means, but telling yourself the French are in a similar predicament is just plain draft. Word to J. Cole, ‘…if you broke and clowning a millionaire, the joke is on you…’
NA E17


England are United
So there we go, I hope all the people who got pelters for suggesting that England won the first match in spite of their manager are feeling a tad more smug today.

Indeed, as a United fan I was getting eiree vibes of watching us at our very worst, think Europa League final bad. All the plodding football of having a conservative 4-2-3-1 but minus the stirring comebacks.

Firstly, England have an abundance of attackers who are most effective on the left. Sterling, Foden, Grealish and Rashford all play there most of the time for their clubs. Thankfully, at Southgate’s disposal is one of Europe’s top attackers on the right hand side but no, other players are crowbarred there for some sort of weird loyalty reason which I thought we were supposed to have moved on from. Perhaps Gareth didn’t shell out for BT Sport and therefore hasnt watched much Bundesliga?

Scotland were defending deep and Kane looked shot. So he brings on a striker who relies on pace in behind when he has an adept target man on the bench.

Rice and Phillips were getting bogged down in a midfield battle, led by the youthful Billy Gilmour. Perhaps fight fire with fire and bolster the area with our own young midfield prodigy? Nah.

Seriously, after the destruction (rightfully) of Ole’s game management skills after the EL final I would hope to see the same criticism of Southgate, his political skills around talking about bloody kneeling shouldn’t absolve him of this mess.


Grealish? Sancho? Will Southgate take lid off England team?


England’s lack of intelligence
Got half way through the England lacked bravery article and had to stop.

My deja vus were having deja vus at that stage.

I could start on about a team being overhyped on the basis of one good performance, about the quality of English players in the premier league, the media etc etc but others will do that for me.

For me this English teams like so many before it lack one thing.

They have the pace, power, stamina, skill and yes even bravery to do very well but when they come up against superior opposition (or just we’ll organised more determined opponents) they lack a critical something.

They look to me like an orchestra without a conductor.

Like so many England teams before they lack that one player in the park to run the show for them. A player to accept the ball repeatedly, keep his head up, see the whole game and bring others into it at the right moment. This type of players main quality (after excellent ball control, retention and passing) is good old fashioned IQ.

I’m not for a second saying English players lack intelligence, they clearly do not. But for me the fallacy at the heart of England’s failure raised its head again in Ian Watsons article. The fallacy states that when an English team fails it is because of a lack of character, pashun or cowardice (for that is what England values most in its players as far as I can see – nothing wrong with that but like many things when overvalued it becomes an issue.) If only they had tried harder, run faster. As a non English observer please accept it when I tell you, English Players Don’t Lack Passion.

The problem with England is not a lack of intelligence, it’s a lack of appreciation for the player whose main characteristic is intelligence.

English football just doesn’t seem to produce this player, or value them. I’m sure clever, tactically astute players have turned up at academies all over England over the years to fall behind the superior physics specimens around them and wither on the vine for lack of being identified and nurtured for their attributes.

The story of Pep Guardiola when he arrived at Barcelona illustrates the point. One coach asked another what he had that was so good? He seemed to lack outstanding attributes: he was average sized, he had average speed. The reply was…look at the size of his head.

England don’t look at the size of the players head, and haven’t as long as I’ve watched them (unless of course it’s to laugh at slab head.)
See the reaction to Thiago this year, branded a “flop” in many quarters. What does he do? He doesn’t score goals, he doesn’t get assists?!

Anyway the point is made. Until England change their attitude towards the game from the grassroots up and start to value that which they have always ignored they are going to be banging their heads off a glass ceiling of their own making and making sacrificial lambs of an endless succession of fine players and managers, who are genuinely trying as hard as they can.


…That was an insipid performance from England albeit in a tricky game where Scotland were always going to play as if their lives depended on it. Here’s my breakdown of what went wrong performance-wise.

I don’t have any complaints with the back-four. Mings is a natural leader and his constant communication brings the best out of Stones, in my opinion. Our fullbacks were solid defensively but clearly, based on their club performances, had been instructed to seldom get forward.

In my view, the 433 allows a team to either: field a workmanlike midfield three which is solid enough for the fullbacks to bomb forward, or a more creative midfield with fullbacks maintaining the defensive security. England’s setup was the worst of both worlds, combining defensive midfielders with cautious fullbacks.

The approach completely neutered our front three. Foden, our most creative player, was isolated with neither James, nor Phillips, attacking enough to link up with him. When James did get forward he did so on the inside which I suspect was to maintain solidity in the centre should we lose the ball.

The lack of support for Foden was most noticeable early in the second half when Phillips, receiving the ball in the channel, in space, shaped to turn-back, thought better of it, delayed, then played the safest of safe passes to James on the right. Anyone watching that moment could’ve seen the game was crying out for Grealish in place of Phillips.

As for the left-hand side, Shaw was cautious despite our best actions happening when he got further forward. Mount is not a creative midfielder so we struggled moving the ball around consistently. At half-time the game was calling out for Grealish in the centre, but again Southgate decided to field him in a safer position on the left. We did revert to 4231 at that point and began a patient buildup in the final third led by Grealish.

At just the moment when we looked capable of providing something for Kane we inexplicably took him off for Rashford, who’s only asset is running in behind, against Scotland, a team defending deep…

My Dad used to say that the English have always had a natural distrust of skillful players. Those words ring true in the context of these first two games where the refusal to play either Foden or Grealish in the centre of the pitch has cost us in performances albeit not results. I’m becoming increasingly convinced that even if we had a prime Xavi and Iniesta we’d still opt to play one of them on the flank in favour of three bruising midfielders in the centre!

Southgate’s pragmatism has served England well in the past, and I certainly wouldn’t call him a coward. But, he mismanaged the game yesterday in both selection and substitutions, while also, infuriatingly, being justified in all but securing qualification from the group.
Liam (will we ever field a creative talent in the centre?) AFC

Second is nowhere
Following England’s draw with Scotland and even before, there seems to be a consensus in the media that second place would be good for England. I just don’t get it. Unless a quarter-final exit is the aim.

The likely paths are:-

Finish 1st – Portugal or Germany followed by Spain or Sweden and finally a home tie against Holland or Wales (please, please, please)

Finish 2nd – Spain or Sweden and then France!!! (Belgium or Italy next if you believe in miracles)

Winning the group gives England a real chance of making it to the final.
Gareth, a Welshman in Kazakhstan


England 0-0 Scotland: Rating the players


England conclusions
I did write in after the Croatia game but when you send your mails to the editors rather than the editor@F365 they tend not to get published…

So England eh, footballs coming home, tournament favourites, doing it for the nation… Oh my days what a bunch of meh.

Some conclusions. Might be 16 might not make it that far.

I’d said to friends over the last 6-8 months England would probably make it out of the group & go out to the first decent team they play against. Their track record over the last 5 years backs this up. World Cup 2018 where they fluked the luckiest draw they’ve ever had, took penalties to beat Colombia & lost against the 2 good teams they played 3 times (Belgium & Croatia). Nations League solid in the group stages out in the knockouts first time of asking against a pretty good Dutch side.

I really struggled to see what the fuss was about after the Croatia game. Whilst I don’t think F365 went too over the top compared to some other media outlets you did seem to be getting a bit carried away. I thought they looked lethargic, disjointed and one dimensional. The only time, first 20 minutes aside (shame games are 90 minutes though), they showed some drive & urgency they scored.

Gareth. The waste-coat is probably England’s biggest issue. Nice talker in a presser, manages relationships with players & seems to show leadership but a football manager he is not. Chairman or DoF maybe. Cowardly, negative, dull, tactically clueless & lacking ruthlessness he certainly is.

4-2-3-1 with 2 DM’s so 6, yes 6, defensive players at home to Scotland (3rd worst team in the tournament with 0 firepower up front). Fallback option is an even more negative 3-4-3. One DM is enough & rotate out Rice or Phillips for Bellingham. Give the midfield some drive forward with a player who has fresher legs and plays abroad in and against European opposition every week. At 17…

Substitutions. You’ve got a squad of 26 players. Makes 2 changes to the lineup but keeps the same formation and tactics against totally different opposition with a different style of play arguably suited to shutting down a 4-2-3-1. Five subs. 3 games in 8 days. You use 2 subs in each game (I’m not counting DCL since he came on in the 92nd minute against Croatia). Could have made 4 (keep one back for an injury or sending off) and completely switched tactics, injected freshness or added impetus when it was clear the plan wasn’t working. Then again this is guy who didn’t think 5 subs was a good idea in a massively shortened season and wasn’t convinced increasing squad sizes to 26 to mitigate Covid was a good idea.

Kalvin Phillips or the ‘The Yorkshire Pirlo? Sod off. Andrea is the Brescia Phillips’. Erm what? One run forward and a simple pass following a half hearted tackle from a Croatia player doesn’t make someone an essential pick. Yeah he had a decent game against a very poor Croatia team but pretty much looked what he is tonight. A mid-table holding midfielder who lacks passing range & creativity which are crucial against a team playing 5 at the back in a low block.

Sterling. Sorry to say it but in the footballing sense yes he is a footie idiot. Sure he scored against Croatia (despite his best attempt to muck it up) but beyond that & a pass to Foden who hit the post in the last game he really hasn’t contributed anything. Poor touches, running the ball out of play, being dispossessed, going down blind alleys, no composure when shooting. Guys had an awful season, doesn’t get into Man City’s 11 and is bang out of form. Should have left him at home.

Kane. Could arguably be England’s biggest problem besides the manager. Looks unfit or injured and woefully off the pace. Maybe it’s exhaustion from playing 90000 minutes this season but his Roy of the Rovers I’m going to play 9 & 10 and do it all like I do for Spurs doesn’t really fit & seems to me to be the main reason the attack looks so disjointed. You’re a Striker Harry! Let the other players create & get on the end of chances.

Mount. Think he looks very busy but doesn’t feel like a 10 to me. 54 games & 17 G+A this season would also suggest he isn’t. I’d rather see him in central midfield alongside Rice/Phillips & Bellingham.

Conscious this is now getting rather long so changes that need to happen. 4-3-3 vs Czech Republic please. Start Maguire (wow I never thought I would ever write those words). Trippier at RB needs to start for set pieces as they’ve also been terrible. Ditch Rice or Phillips. Play Bellingham. Get Harry Kane playing as a striker or again drop him & play DCL. Bench Sterling and put Foden on the left. Start Sancho on the right. The Grealish debate I’m still unsure on but perhaps actually starting him and giving him a full 90 minutes would be a good place to start.
Dave (at least McCoist was a good listen, as always), Washington


Nothing really matters
It doesn’t matter that Southgate never won anything at club level.

Aragones won Spain the euros, won nothing at club level.

Löw won Germany a world cup and runner up at euros, won nothing at club level.

On the flip side England hired two extremely decorated managers at club level (Eriksson and capello) who couldn’t win anything with England. The common denominator here is the team.

England don’t have the mentality to win things. When crunch time comes they freeze and play benitez style safety first football. England don’t handle pressure well at all, haven’t for as long as I’ve been alive.

You might call them the spurs of international football (yeah I know I’ve already compared them to united and Everton before but this one is dead on!)

I think everyone is gonna have to admit now….Kane really isn’t that good. Last tournament his record was propped up by pens. This one (with no pens) it’s shocking for a £150m player. In sports you’re only as good as your last game, and Kane isn’t worth 50p right now. Is he playing sh*t on purpose so levy will have to drop the price to sell him?

TL:Dr Southgate is sh*t, but England are sh*tter.


Saturday’s Mailbox: Everybody wants to talk about Gareth Southgate’s balls


Southgate still copping it
Scotland played well, while England played terribly. The Scots are celebrating wildly, even though they may be lucky to get a draw in the last group game and exit, while English fans are glum but England are pretty much guaranteed to progress. Football, bloody hell.

Kane was awful. The average 49 year old Sunday league player would have put in a better, more passionate performance. This is the England captain! What kind of leadership was being demonstrated to the younger players with his ambling, slowly, a few yards side to side, not pressing, not able to hold up a single ball, not causing the Sottish defence one iota of a scare. Yet all the reports I read are about the poor service he was receiving. Why would any of them continue to pass to him when he looked like he couldn’t be arsed to do much to get it. In the post game interview he sounded surprised to be taken off.

And then Southgate subs off Foden?! The only one of the front three making anything happen. Sterling is brilliant at breaking the line running with the ball but don’t ask him to control a slightly difficult pass on a slick surface. If you were going to put Grealish on, and on the left, it should have been done earlier and in place of Sterling. And someone to replace Kane who could not hold the ball up. But Southgate was already thinking of the draw. Given Foden was the only one tracking back, he still made the better choice to stay.

Hopefully in game 3 Southgate brings Henderson in for Phillips to add some oomph to the midfield, replace Kane and Sterling who like they need a break and get things moving. Plus, no point in having full backs who can maraud off you aren’t going to give them the opportunity to maraud. Too many passes today starting going back and sideways after the first 20 minutes or so. Again, likely because they saw Kane and Sterling continue to fumble them. But we have seen Italy do so well simply by moving the ball forward more quickly.

While Scotland played well they have a quandary. They need Dykes and Adams to be able to play the outball and ‘occupy’ the defenders. But they can’t score. If they put in someone who can, they probably won’t get enough men up behind them in support the way Adam’s and Dykes have.

McGinn really thinks he’s all that, especially with his diving and falling over. How many times have we seen him do that this season – where the slightest touch and he takes a fall – with a sly grin to follow. Imagine the flack if he was a Johnny Foreigner.

It will be interesting to see if Clarke plays the same team against Croatia. They will lose if they don’t show the same pashun as against England and Scotland rarely do. The reporting was gushing, you would have thought they had won 3-0. Yet earlier we saw how Croatia can play better and dominated the second half against a team that dominated Scotland. Of course it will all be put down to a saviour or two – endowing saint like status on Tierney, Gilmour and Adams. Watch them all fail to show the same levels against Croatia and crash out. But at least they will have had a fun day out in these recently moribund time. Let’s hope they don’t bring too many of the delta variants back home.
Paul McDevitt


…Thanks for that…it was worse than I thought possible.

Badly set up team (check), couldn’t keep the ball (check), no creativity (check), no attack (check), terrible subs (check), no in-game management (check), absolutely f#cked it (check).

Honestly, it’s not Southgate’s fault…rubbish players and no options apparently.
Matthew (ITFC) – still hoping we can avoid France


…As I said after the Croatia game, England will go nowhere with Southgate as Manager.

Apart from the first 15 minutes against Croatia they have been abysmal and the shape of the team and players selected are defensively orientated, as three shots on goal in two games prove. In addition, his mindset was easy to see from the outset, when he selected four right backs in the original squad, which contained 10 defenders and three defensive midfield players.

I am also unsure as to why the pundits are questioning the form of Harry Kane as he was the same in the World Cup in 2018 and he is clearly “knackered” as he was then, but at least in 2018 we played to his strengths, which we have failed abjectly to do in the two games so far.

Finally, if I was Foden I would be scratching my head as to why I was substituted for being the best English player on the field and if I was Sancho, Bellingham, Grealish or Saka, I would be wishing I was not born an Englishman with Southgate as the Manager.

The worrying things is that things wont get any better as the FA appear to believe that Southgate is the man for the future as well and that can only mean more of the same dire defensive football and no trophies.
Laurie Cole


…After the joyful reaction to my ‘England are not going to create anything’ email after the Croatia game, here’s some more rubbish:

1. Don’t blame Kane! There was nothing going into the box. His dropping deep was hopeless because when Kane dropped deeper, so did Scotland.
2. Rashford’s not a good striker (not that it mattered). He stepped back rather than forward during the 6 yard box scramble – there was a tap in there and he didn’t realise.
3. We need more De Bruyne crosses. I don’t mean good crosses (although that would help), I mean those first time crosses from the corner of the area following a cut back. That cross was on frequently for James last night and, given that he’s good at crossing, it was bizarre that he never tried it.
4. The substitutions. Sancho didn’t come on because Southgate doesn’t trust him defensively and Southgate’s primary aim was to avoid defeat. Maybe sensible. Definitely depressing.
5. The centre midfield. Look at Wales. They can play a centre midfield of Morrell and Allen (good, slight, hard working, technical players) and still look perfectly solid. Foden described himself as a centre midfielder in his ITV lineup video – F365 should write one of those SENDING A MESSAGE articles.

The main issue is that we’re 2 games in and an England player is yet to beat a defender on the outside (probably, haven’t checked).
Jonathan (brackets)
p.s loved Scotland though.


…Southgate was a mid-table player and he’s bringing a mid-table mentality to management. In stocking his side with teacher’s pet types and ignoring genuinely world class players like Sancho, Henderson and TAA (I know he’s injured but he wouldn’t have played anyway) is like rehashing the golden generation but leaving out Ashley Cole, Gerrard and Rooney but playing Leon Osman, Wayne Bridge and Shaun Wright-Phillips.

Really really poor selections and game management, following poor selections in the first game where he got lucky. Kane was terrible and deserved to be hooked, but Sterling was even worse. Beggars belief that he was left on while one of the world’s premier wingers was left on the bench to contemplate how he hurt Southgate.


…So much for Gareth Southgate’s ‘progressive’ mien, reflecting something different and something better about this England team. They were as lethargic, hopeless, clueless, and tactically inept as some of the dismal England performances of years gone by (Algeria 2010, for example), with Southgate’s dreadful substitutions compounding the situation. He’s a failed Middlesbrough manager and an FA yes-man who got the job by default, but it’s amazing how a cool waistcoat, a beard, and a ‘thoughtful’ facial expression are all catnip to the anti-PFM brigade.

Kane was flagging (but getting no service) but England looked even more blunt when Kane went off and was replaced by Rashford. Foden looked like England’s most dangerous player but he got the hook. Sterling was poor but can’t be dropped. Grealish is being built-up as the saviour (a 25 year old who has never played European football 🤔 ) but he didn’t do much. Scotland looked comfortable and could have won the game if they had a cutting edge – like Algeria in 2010.

England will get through the group but will be knocked out as soon as they play a quality side.


…Any particular reason Kane is still captaining England? Glad to see this esteemed site giving an honest assessment of Tottenham’s six-figure golden boy as he plays with a different team around him (no Sonny, no service?). This lends credence to my assertion that, at this point, Harry Kane is a poisoned chalice. His powers, just like his ankles, are on the wane (or, at 27, would that be “on the Wayne”?).

United have had more than their fair share of expensive flops over the past decade, so let City or Chelsea roll the dice on him.
Ebrahim (with a sneaking suspicion that, after all the hooplah, he’s destined for two more years of “honest conversations” with Levy), MUFC, Seattle


England were fine
First things first, good luck with this mailbox – if people were angry after the Croatia win, they’ll be spitting feathers now! Now Grealish has played with little success, will Sancho will be the next player everyone’s clamouring for?

I thought England were…fine? If Stones scores his free header after 12 minutes it’s a completely different game. Scotland set up well and clogged up the middle and we couldn’t find anyone to work between the lines. For another match we looked pretty comfortable at the back (though they did have some chances) and created a bit, but things clearly got very stodgy in the second half.

While we’re solid enough at the back, we lack a bit of invention and drive in the final third. I think a lot of that is down to how Harry Kane fits in this team. I don’t know what’s up with him but he looks like he’s coming back from injury- he slows things down and is dropping too deep to try and get involved which means there isn’t a focal point for the attack. To fit him in we either have to change a system that is working pretty well bar him, but if you’re replacing him it surely has to be DCL, not Rashford, as DCL can stretch the play but also hold the ball up effectively for the runners from midfield.

If you don’t want a focal point for the attack, then it would be very interesting to see 4 out of Sancho, Grealish, Foden, Mount, Rashford and Sterling sent out like City during their fabulous run towards the end of the season.

All in all we’re undefeated and haven’t conceded, which is a very solid place to be. There are things to work on, but there’s no point peaking in a group game a la the Dutch in 2008.

Of course, we might fall apart against the Czechs, but I hope people feel mostly calm about this performance and result – I’d rather be solid and progress further than be Brazil 82.
Tom, Andover.


England and cowardice
I work with a couple of people who love to use military metaphors when in meetings, where we all work to advance the fortunes of an electricity supplier. Phrases like “is this the hill you want to die on?”, “Send it up the flagpole to see if anyone salutes” or invoking the phrase “friendly fire” where a new policy has negatively impacted another area of the business. Whatever the phrase, it is always hilarious, and I have deep suspicions these men have paid quite a lot for Airsoft equipment at some point in their lives.

So when I see Football 365 deciding to drop the word “cowardice” quite casually into an article of the “disgraceful” nil-all draw with Scotland, my mind returns to my colleagues at work. A quick question: before the pandemic, how many work outings in Football365 offices involved paintball and pints?

England have 4 points from 6. England should make it through the group. England go into the game against Czech Republic entirely entitled to believe they can win the game.


Did Scotland win?
I seem to have a different view of last night’s match to most commentators. Obviously England were not great but a lot of the assessments of the match suggest Scotland had the best chances of the night and that Pickford was forced into a few “saves.”
Pickford only made one save as I recall and it was one of those ones that, let’s be honest, was pretty routine. How many Premier League keepers would we expect to be beaten by that shot?
The two clearest chances of the night were the Stones’ header and Mount’s effort just after that really should have been scored. This is borne out by the stats for xG: England 1.91-0.79 Scotland
I wish Scotland well but despite their enthusiastic celebrations the odds suggest they have a 70% likelihood of coming bottom of the group and they still haven’t scored.

On to England, that second half performance was terrible and I just don’t know what Southgate was thinking. England have a great squad with the quirk that many players on the bench are the equals of the players on the pitch. And we have also been given the gift of being able to make 5 substitutions. Why did he only make two when it was so clearly not working? It was obvious Kane wasn’t on top form so hook him earlier and give someone else a chance not just to nick a goal but to actually turn the game around.
Southgate has worked out that the team with the best defence has a good chance of going deep into the tournament but even if we do, won’t we all just be bored by the whole experience if we are served up more of what we saw last night?
Josh (LFC)


Power of Scotland
Despite the nerves towards the end of the game and the lack of goals, I really enjoyed the game last night. I’m a Scotland fan who watched our game against the Czechs and thought, we played pretty well, and thought we played pretty well again last night. Chances created, and not too much allowed for England save the Stones header which definitely should have been scored.

I was interested by the interview with Steve Clarke after the game where he seemed very upset at the criticism that the team and in particular ODonnell had received and I have to agree with him. Hope to see him a bit happier after Croatia. I feel like Scotland definitely have a chance based on what I’ve seen so far. We just need to score a goal!

Please let this be our time to get a win against a good team…. Please
Ian Towns, Scotland


The problem with international football
The problem with international football is that the teams are being run by mediocre managers. Are there any managers at the Euros that would be wanted by anyone but a mid-table premier league team? The last manager of any repute was Conte and we saw what he achieved with a distinctly average Italian team. Southgate is a nice guy but he should be doing more with the talent at his disposal, Martinez has butchered Belgium’s golden generation, etc etc.

I’m also of the opinion that the coaches need to be from that country. Why is the rule different for them? If you don’t have a decent striker in your country then that’s your bad luck, best you do what you can to nurture that talent – same goes for managers and coaches.

And finally, why do countries even bother hiring a manager outside of big tournaments? Do their tactics and finding players for their system really matter in all these insignificant friendlies? Why not hire a top class manager just for the tournament? Get him to instruct someone else on the tactics he’d like to use for the friendlies and then he comes in and does a masterclass a few weeks before the tournament.

I’m guessing not many will agree with me, but screw it, I don’t care – I’m right.


We were warned about Laszlo Kleinheisler
Last week I wrote a (sadly unpublished) mail advising readers to look out for Hungary’s László Kleinheisler and that he would make Bruno Fernandes look like the Portuguese Charlie Adam. It looks like I was a little premature. Instead, Kleinheisler has made Paul Pogba look like the French Lee Cattermole.

Just as with Billy Gilmour, we have seen midfielders play for underdog teams and boss the game, snapping, biting, pressing, harrying, and delivering fine distribution. I am really enjoying these Euros and seeing superb midfield play. Long may it continue!
Brian J (My old dad still thinks “Chillington” should be playing at LB for England)



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