England ‘entitled to be turning over’ Switzerland after dropping Mainoo and putting TAA at left wing-back

Editor F365
Kobbie Mainoo is embraced by England manager Gareth Southgate
Gareth Southgate tells Kobbie Mainoo he is going to drop him

The great managerial minds of Harry Redknapp and Stuart Pearce have come together to deliver a win England are ‘entitled to’. Kobbie Mainoo must be dropped.

 

D.I.S.R.E.S.P.E.C.T
Harry Redknapp plays all the usual hits in The Sun, including but not limited to:

1) Expressing ‘no disrespect’ to Switzerland, immediately before wondering ‘how many’ of their players ‘would get in the England side’ and declaring the only answer to be Manuel Akanji, like Granit Xhaka doesn’t exist and hasn’t thrived for about two years in a position England have struggled to fill because of the decline of Kalvin Phillips.

2) Saying England are ‘entitled to be turning them over’ considering the quality of their players.

3) Telling England to ‘go out to attack’.

4) Declaring ‘it’s fate they’ll go all the way’.

5) Reiterating that ‘the bottom line is England really should be too good for Switzerland…and once they get past them, we really CAN start to dream.’

6) Naming his starting line-up with Kobbie Mainoo, probably England’s best player against Slovakia, dropped (without any explanation as to why) and Jude Bellingham playing deeper alongside Declan Rice, behind an attack of Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka, Cole Palmer and Harry Kane.

Switzerland are obviously awful so it’s strange Redknapp could not find room for Anthony Gordon and Ivan Toney too. Do England really need four defenders and a goalkeeper against a team with one defeat in 18 games since the World Cup? With ‘fate’ on our side, there is probably a place for Eberechi Eze and Ollie Watkins as well.

It will forever be a crying shame that Redknapp did not get the England job.

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Flying without wing-backs
Stuart Pearce did once; he lost his only match in charge 3-2 and gave Fraizer Campbell his solitary England cap, which should perhaps be kept in mind when examining his grand plan of a three-man defence with Foden and Bellingham as dual No. 10s, but with Saka as right wing-back and Trent Alexander-Arnold as left wing-back.

You were *this close*, Psycho.

 

OK, supercomputer
One thing missing for most of Euro 2024 has been the supercomputer. The Sun have wisely rebooted it to get some updates in ahead of the Premier League season, and some predictions for the quarter-finals.

‘IT’S EURO 2024 quarter-final time – and ‘Robotinho’ has predicted which four nations will make the semis,’ it says here.

And it will surprise you, dear reader, to learn that the supercomputer ‘has gone through and crunched all of the data’ to predict that the winner of all four ties will be the current favourites for all four ties: Spain, France, England and Netherlands.

Who knew ‘the data’ was just betting odds and ‘crunching’ them just means looking at them? The boffins, that’s who.

 

My fingertips are holding onto the cracks in our formation
One of the many things a supercomputer cannot be adjusted for is England’s possible switch in formation. They have been trialling a back three in training – the MailOnline‘s ‘John Stones breaks silence on Gareth Southgate’s plan to switch to a three-man defence for crunch Euro 2024 quarter-final clash against Switzerland’ is hilariously nonsensical – and that, much like any system, comes with pros and cons.

Chris Sutton is unconvinced. He kindly lets the Daily Mail know about his concerns.

‘I’m not sure now is the right time for Gareth Southgate to gamble by switching to a three-man defence out of fear of the Swiss.’

There might never be a ‘right time’, particularly in the middle of a tournament. But after scraping past Slovakia having been almost entirely rotten for four straight games, it seems as good a time as any to at least consider it.

‘Ezri Konsa plays for Aston Villa, who don’t use a back three. Lewis Dunk for Brighton, who don’t. Joe Gomez for Liverpool, who don’t. Kyle Walker and John Stones for Manchester City, who don’t, albeit you could argue that Pep Guardiola sending a man into midfield sees them flirt with that formation.’

Fair enough. Each of those players have played in a back three before – Walker and Stones at previous major tournaments for England – so the formation would not exactly be alien, but wanting not to use an unfamiliar system is an entirely valid opinion, even if the most prevalent complaint is that these players are not being used the same way as they are for their clubs.

And then to the other argument. Fabian Schar plays for Newcastle, who don’t use a back three. Manuel Akanji for Manchester City, so that Walker and Stones point can be reversed. Ricardo Rodriguez featured there frequently for Torino this past season but also played at left-back and left wing-back on more than a few occasions.

Dan Ndoye is a winger rather than a wing-back for Bologna, who play with a four-man defence. Michel Aebischer is almost exclusively a central midfielder in the same club team, not playing a single game in any position on the left this past season. Both have been excellent for Switzerland in their roles.

It is almost as if professional footballers are capable of knowing how to play in different systems and different positions at different times. There are arguments for and against England changing formation but ‘these players don’t play in it for their clubs’ is a strange one to pick when Switzerland are thriving in a system their players’ clubs don’t generally use either.

 

Granit slabs
‘Granit Xhaka faces awkward Harry Kane reunion after subtle dig at England star’ – Daily Mirror website.

They do handily include this ‘subtle dig’. Although it is largely pointless as it is practically imperceptible to the naked eye:

“It’s part of football. We know how much quality that Harry Kane has, he’s doing very well at Bayern Munich as well. You get the message, but this has nothing to do with personalities. It’s great to have the chance to play against great players. We were the happiest team to win the league.”

Ooft. That is definitely going to be ‘awkward’. Will Kane reject his handshake like Wayne Bridge with John Terry?

 

Class act
‘Kylian Mbappe explains classy Cristiano Ronaldo gesture that has helped his career’ – Daily Mirror website.

He basically sometimes talks to him and “gives me tips”. How ‘classy’. Ronaldo really is just a normal, down-to-earth guy, as dreadful at free-kicks as the rest of us.

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