Problem with Kane: England players aren’t used to quality

Date published: Tuesday 22nd June 2021 9:34 - Ian Watson

England are though and Scotland could join them in the last 16 this evening. Get your views in to…


England’s Euros haven’t started yet
Preparing for the big boys when he tournament starts in the last 16…

It’s clear to me we were always going to play with 2 holding midfielders throughout the tournament regardless in the quality of the opposition. Gareth is getting us ready to play like when we come up against betters teams. Our group on paper is relatively easy to qualify from especially with the 4 best 3rd place teams going through out qualification was never in doubt. As we progress through the tournament the quality will be better and having the extra defensive mindset could work to out advantage especially if we get used to who is going to start now.

Scotland played with a back 5 and sat deep making it hard to score against them this will not be the case when we come up against better teams. Can you see a France, Germany or Belgium playing 5 at the back against us??? I seriously doubt it. Ultimately as we progress through the tournament the likes of Kane and Sterling will start to flourish as there will be more space for them to show their class.

We saw from the friendlies with Southgate starting players that were not in the squad that he knew the group stage was a formality. The group stage has been used to get players fit and using the system he wants to play for when the real tournament starts in the last 16.

The football is dull now, England’s Euro start in the Last 16, I know it, Southgate knows, deep down you know!

It’s coming home


England players aren’t used to Kane’s quality
Not sure I agree with the current spate of Kane bashing going on from the keyboard warriors (especially the dolts who are calling him a poor man’s Benzema – have you seen the chances he’s shinned wide for France so far?). Kane may well be knackered/unfit, I’ll gladly say that, he has just carried the Spurs team for the entire season, that’d knacker anyone, but in doing so he has finished as top scorer and top creator, a sign of quality if ever I saw one.

What is apparent to me is that his supporting cast are not used to playing with a Harry Kane-esque striker week in week out and not giving him the service he needs; Foden and Sterling play without any strikers at City so they just cut inside and shoot, Mount is used to the quick recycling of the ball from Kante/Jorginho and the runs of Werner and Havertz to look for, so far at the Euros he’s feeding of scraps, so no wonder Kane isn’t at the races, no one is playing to his strengths. Give the man the ball twenty yards from goal, draw a defender away and boom, the ball is in the bottom corner, he has done that about 100 times in his career so far?

I’d like to see the service Sancho and Bellingham can provide Kane, as they, out of all of our midfielders, are used to playing with a striker more akin to Kane than our other attacking/mid options.

After the bore-fest on Friday, here’s hoping for some fun tonight!
Jerome, Bristol Spur (again)


Monday’s Mailbox: Can we all calm the f*** down about England, please?


Justified hysteria
Just read John Nic’s article about how our players at club level play at the level they do because of the influence of the foreigners they play with. This is a well trodden arguement that I remember going back to Gerrard and Alonso, and typical of F365 to offer the sensible, sober and non hysterical viewpoint to counter the IN-GER-LAND hysteria of national press. Dont blame the manager it’s just the players aren’t good enough.

But, what if the stopped clock just happens to be right this time? Maybe Son looks so good because Kane is Europe’s best striker, maybe all of the praise Mount has received from his successive managers is nothing to do with Jorginiho. What if Guardiola was correct when he compared Foden to Messi? What if Grealish is not just the new Gazza but twice the player he was?

The cold hard truth is this, apart from France we have the best collection of attacking footballers in world football and we should have hammered Scotland and we should get to the final. If Tuchal or Klopp was in charge would they have done the same as Southgate? No. We have the most gifted generation of players for years and we are cocking it up because our manager is useless. Sometimes the hysteria is right.
Andrew Macleavy


Big Euros midweek: Portugal v France, Grealish, Scotland


Get the group won
I don’t really get the whole “let’s finish 2nd” argument from England fans like Nick. If you finish 1st, you play the 2nd place team in group F in the last 16. However, if you finish 2nd, then you would play the winner of that group in the quarter final. Is that really better? Finishing 2nd might give you an easier last 16 game, but it does not open up an easier route to the final.

There’s also a very realistic possibility that Sweden wins group E. They just need to beat Poland. If that happens the following is likely.

England finish 1st:
L16: Germany
QF: Sweden

England finish 2nd:
L16: Spain
QF: France

There’s also the matter of playing at Wembley next if you win your group. Also, imagine the negative press and fan reaction if England fail to beat the Czechs? It would be far better for England to get a morale boosting win, get the confidence going and go into the last 16 acting as tournament contenders, rather than acting like underdogs hoping to rig the draw to get through a few extra rounds.
Mike, LFC, London


Scotland flouting the system
So Gilmour shows as positive for Covid but no other Scotland players are deemed to have close contact. Not the players he shared a dressing room before and after the game, the coach, dining facilities and, given they generally share a room, his room mate. Neither did Robertson and Tierney who Robertson shared a social media clip playing table tennis with Gilmour after the game.

In the meantime, Chilwell and Mount, who spent what, 20 seconds, hugging Gilmour at the end of the game, are considered to have been in too close contact and have to quarantine.

Scotland clearly playing a bit of a game here in flouting the Covid rules. You would think they would show leadership in these difficult times instead of trying to game the system.
Paul McDevitt


…Anyone else wondering whether Mount and Chilwell played a game of kiss chase with Billy Gilmour following the final whistle on Friday?

Whatever happened, I bet Reece James is no longer suffering from FOMO. LOL.


…Given that Mount and Chilwell now must self isolate after ‘interacting’ with Billy Gilmour on Friday, surely so too should Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice after they spent the night in his pocket! Guffaw guffaw guffaw…….
Jerome, Bristol Spur, er, Bristol


Johnny Nic: Foreigners have made our England players look better


Best football songs
About a year ago someone wrote into mailbox asking what people’s favourite football songs where. Being a long-term football fan (arguably: Non-League Southend United) and record geek this was right in my ballpark and I meant to reply at the time but alas life got in the way. I was reminded about this recently with when I started to see a few ‘best football song’ lists crop up around the Euro build up which were basically variations on 3 lions, World In Motion, Vin-da-loo and the Ant & Dec one so I thought I’d have a dig and do an alternative footie top 10 records.

Cue Top of The Pops music…
Bilk – I Got Knocked Out The Same Night England Did
A great blast of energy which sees a ‘The Streets’ style vocal married to an early Arctic Monkeys type indie rock track. The video is worth a watch too. Vintage England footage cut with the band having a night out in Chelmsford. Every bit as classy as it sounds!

Hitchers – Strachan
Epic track that sees a domestic dispute being played out to a background of Leeds United match on the television. As well as Gorden Strachan most of the classic early 1990’s line up get namechecked. Dorigo, Wallace, Lukic, Speed, etc. Bonus points for the lead singer being called Niall Quinn! (He was also a founding member of future megastars The Cranberries.)

Slade – Give Us A Goal
Between their 70’s heyday and their 80’s revival Slade went through a period when they tried anything to get a hit. They released ‘The Oakey Coakey’ twice! One of the better efforts from this period was this stomping wannabe terrace anthem. Seagulls fans, check out the video, Slade playing at the stadium with footage of the ’78 team.

Saint Etienne – The Official Saint Etienne World Cup Theme
Some great chill out house from 1990 which cuts in snippets of football commentary (mainly ‘John Barnes’). Pop Will Eat Itself had the same idea with their world cup 90 song ‘Touched by the hand of Cicciolina’ but Saint Etienne get the nod here for randomly including references to lower league Scottish football.

Des Lynam Allstars – I Wish I Had Hair Like Trevor Sinclair
Includes lines such as ‘But my hair is nearer to that of Alan Shearer, the hair on my person is like that of Paul Merson’ They had a setlist awash with 90’s football references including ‘Collymore’s Boots’, ‘Geoff Thomas’ and ‘Too good to go down (Nottingham Forest)’. For further Norwich based football obsessed punk pop check out Serious Drinking and in particular ‘Love on the terraces’.

Dave & AJ Tracey – Thiago Silva
It was all getting a bit 90’s guitar based so here’s one for the kids! Not too much actual football in here but Grime superstar Dave manages talk about man bags whilst namechecking Thiago Silva and Aguero. Thats gotta be a win!

Adam & Joe – The Footie Song
A football song seemingly written by people who know nothing about football. “When I go and see Villa my view is blocked by a concrete pillar…When I go and see Nottingham there don’t half seem like a lot of them.” You get the idea but it somehow works. One of these men went on to write Hollywood blockbuster movies for Steven Spielberg!

Collapsed Lung – Eat My Goal
This Alan Partridge inspired hip hop banger gets the party started every time!

Everclear – Volvo Driving Soccer Mum
Props to an American band giving a ‘soccer’ song a go. Again not too much actual football in this one but alt. rockers Everclear knock out a decent tune which sees a former ‘bad girl’ wondering how she got to a place where her life revolves around her young daughter’s soccer team.

Manic Street Preachers – S.Y.M.M.
Their official 2016 Welsh football anthem ‘Together Stronger’ was a better example of the football anthem genre but being the Manics they have also managed to successfully bring social justice into the football song with S.Y.M.M. A song that passes comment on the Hillsborough disaster.

Anyway, that’s my attempt. Any other great football songs out there I need to know about?
Paul (All that with no mention of Chas & Dave. Although I do kinda regret that now)

The format works
I keep reading how people hate this format for a tournament and how the 3rd place qualifying is awful.
Where were they five years ago? This is the same format as last time, when Portugal finished 3rd in their group with 3 points from 3 draws before going on to win the thing.

I can only assume they are too young to remember the run of three great World Cups in 1986, 1990 and 1994 all of which used the same format.
In 1990, Argentina only came 3rd on their group and reached the final.
In 1994, Italy did exactly the same thing.

I’d go as far as to say that 24 is the optimal number for a football tournament. There’s always something to play for.


…I was going to write in about this anyway, but then seen it brought up in the afternoon mailbox. I’ve seen it in articles on the site recently and I read a few others elsewhere, but it’s to do with the new format of the Euros (also the same for 2016).

Basically, a lot of people saying it’s bad. I don’t get the problem; the competition is increased from 31 matches to 51 which sounds like a lot but the reality is that you’re just adding more groups and the last 16 stage, so teams have to play one extra match. So more basically, in the old format Italy would just be in the quarters instead of the last 16, but surely one extra match isn’t the end of the world? I rarely agree with UEFA or their corruption (and it came from a very corrupt Irishman) but this idea I like. From what I can tell on groups, then Scotland or Wales wouldn’t be in this tournament otherwise. Or Hungary and North Macedonia, Finland or Slovakia. The main writers complaining about this format seem to be English, and likewise when I read another article against it that it was Low and Hummels from Germany complaining. Teams that would probably be in it if it was an 8 team tournament. I personally love that Wales are through and that Scotland might go through. Why are you all knocking on the chance for those teams and players to get a Euros just because it means one extra match in the group stage for the big hitters? Even if Ireland got beaten in every game, I’d love if they were there or if I could be there if they were.

Hummels said a quote complaining about the low quality and that teams are very defensive, which stinks to me of when Klopp or Pep complain that a team like West Brom don’t have the audacity to let their world class players have all the time and space in the world to be world class. Shock. Horror. Fuck off. Honestly like, Scotland might be 20 years before getting to a tournament again and this format gave them a chance to be in it, what’s the problem? Wales are most likely going to face one of Finland, Russia or Denmark in the last 16, which means one of those four gets to be in the quarters; all good with me. Even if Hungary don’t progress from their group and it’s the three big guns, all good with me. If Hungary do a surprise and results go their way, delighted for them.

It stinks of a Super League mentality trying to keep it smaller. Some of those nations will be full of people who never seen this before and know how long it will be before they do again. And this thing about “no jeopardy”, what are you on about with that too? It’s only three games to get through the group, it’s not like a league. Every game does matter, in terms of group points or hoping to be a better third placed team. Portugal losing to Germany mattered. Scotland getting a draw with England mattered. Wales beating Turkey mattered. I’ve watched loads of the matches and really enjoyed all of them. You have three games to get through or not, how is there no jeopardy there? This thing that it only really starts in the knockouts, are you all watching the same matches I am? It’s a tournament, most likely won by one of the big favourites, but the other teams can have some upsets and enjoy it along the way too.
James, Galway


Negative subs
Just something I have noted recently. When teams set up to defend within an inch of their lives I believe the 5 subs actually benefits them more than the better attacking team. Hear me out for a second.

We see it all the time, defending teams running after the ball all day long to the point they make an error because of tiredness. Completely replacing half the outfield team really reduces this possibility and keeps the energy up allowing for high energy defending to continue.

Anyone out there reckon Chris Wilder even thought of this?

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