No room for ‘pub player’ Harry Kane in England’s best front four for Euro 2024

Editor F365
England's best front four of Saka, Palmer, Foden and Bellingham
England's best front four of Saka, Palmer, Foden and Bellingham

As we start to look towards Euro 2024, one reader would like England to bin Harry Kane after the group stages. Plus, mails on Arsenal, Man City and predictions.

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England will not win Euros with Harry Kane
Having seen England repeatedly get booted out by the first decent team they play in knockout tournaments, this summer is going to be particularly sickening given the quality England’s second most successful manager of all time has at his disposal.

Generally speaking a team only really needs one truly world-class player playing well to knock out England. Teams with more than one of these players pretty much have a bye to the next round when drawn against England.

The truly galling thing about this is that this summer we will have four world-class attacking players, yet our attacking game plan will be built around Harry ‘silver medal’ Kane.

Hopalong Harry will amble around the final third with his movement as predictable as a Man City title win as England are sent home once again. Lethal against inferior players, he is completely neutralised by world-class players at the highest level. His atrocious record in CL, WC and EC semi finals and finals shows he hits a glass ceiling that he simply doesn’t have the intelligence, movement, creativity or guile to break through.

His missed penalties in an EC semi and a WC quarter show he lacks the cojones too. He has repeatedly failed to score from open play (sorry, knocking in a missed pen doesn’t count) in the biggest games of his career and repeatedly ‘led’ his teams to failure.

It is an almost impossible conundrum to fit our 4 top attacking players into the same side but I’m pretty sure Pep and Carlo would have no trouble finding a way. For a start if Saka plays, he has to play on the right as the least adaptable of the four. We have seen this season that Foden has to play in the middle as no English player is better in tight spaces than PF. But we need Cole Palmer’s laser guided passing range too and what about Bellingham?

Although Bellingham’s best position is #10 he has excelled on the left when played there by Madrid and would win more dangerous free kicks further up the pitch and be harder to suffocate out there. That would mean Foden plays as a false 9, with his crazy good xG, as he has with city, and Cole Palmer is the #10. Kane can score the goals against the minnows as we progress to the quarter finals but the Fab 4 of Bellingham, Palmer, Foden and Saka must be our go to magic formula against the top sides. But of course this is England, we will play a ‘world class’ pub footballer at #9 and will be knocked out by the first decent team we play.

Harry Kane has played in a Euros final and semi final, two Champions League semi final matches and a CL final as well as a World Cup semi final. In those six matches, 3 of which lasted for 2 hours, the only goal he scored from open play was a rebound from his own missed penalty against Denmark. This is over 10 hours of football with 0 goals from actual open play. He simply does not have the intelligence, movement or speed of thought to score goals at the very highest level. And he will start every game for England at Euro 24…
Ben Teacher

READ: A step-by-step guide to show Harry Kane has actually scored precisely zero proper goals for England


Smashing it again
Loved Gary AVFC’s email about his picks but I’ve got to one-up him. Everton get into the UEFA Cup in 07/08 and get thrown into a pot with four other pots. I decided to give it a go on who we’d draw and went with FC Nurnberg, Zenit St. Petersburg, AZ Alkmaar, and AE Larissa.

Nailed it.

Lottery numbers incoming.
TX Bill (if you’re club is bidding less than 80-100M on Jarrad Branthwaite, don’t bother) EFC


Premier League predictions reviewed
Winners: Arsenal – They’ve kept the fundamentals and added wisely, should be ready to push on with last year’s experience. Right about the pushing on, wrong about them winning.

2nd, 3rd, 4th: United, City, Liverpool – United are in a similar boat to Arsenal, and now have a goal scorer, but may not be the finished article ready for a title push. City have lost a few match winners, and so far look weaker than last season, plus their motivation could potentially be diminished. Liverpool should bounce back but they still appear dodgy at the back, but more than enough to get them in the top 4. What City lost in Mahrez they gained in Gvardiol somehow. LFC did improve and did have a dodgy backline. United gained a new striker, but lost out in almost most other places.

5th, 6th, 7th, 8th: Chelsea, Newcastle, Spurs, Villa – No European football should bode Chelsea well, but Poch has a massive job turning those players into a team. Champions league football, teams knowing how they play combined with some moderate upgrades makes for a challenging season. Spurs should improve, but this guess is based on Harry staying. Villa in theory should be capable of achieving better than last year, but like Newcastle, teams will know what to expect this year. Realistically, all of these teams are interchangeable/reversible. The last sentence really was my saving grace with this selection, with Villa being swapped with United the only wrong call.

18th, 19th, 20th: After today’s news and this summer’s transfers, I cannot see Wolves surviving. Could O’Niel do it again? Does lightning strike twice? Sheffield United don’t look strong, and have recruited poorly. Luton are here just for the ride it appears. Lightning did strike twice, and Gary is the new Big Sam. Luton did put up more of a fight than I anticipated, but they did go down. Had too much hope for Burnley.

Relegation survivors: Forest, Bournemouth, Everton. Did not anticipate Bournemouth being as good, the rest were on point though.

Mid-table/pushing for Europe: Brighton, West Ham, Fulham, Brentford, Palace, Burnley. This came in reasonably accurately as well. Glasner really changed Palace’s fortunes and they look excellent now. It turns out I got Burnley and Wolves places reversed, and Brentford and Bournemouth too.

Best Signing: MacAllister. All he needs to do is replicate last year’s form and get Liverpool back into the top four for this to be a roaring success. Equals as a bargain if so. Cole Palmer for me is hands down the best signing. Rookie turned 2nd top scorer and 2nd top assister is beyond phenomenal. That said, at time of writing, he had not moved yet (not that I would have picked him anyways) MacAllister was a good shout mind, and was probably LFC’s signing of the season.

Worst Signing: Havertz. Won’t be the CM they need, won’t be the backup striker they need, won’t be the CAM they need. He could be the 2023 version of Veron to Chelsea. This was looking accurate coming towards winter, but he has in fairness did very well. I reckon Tonali was the worst based on the outlay and fact he got banned for a year. Mason Mount also cost a lot, for minimal return, but he was injured mostly and did mildly contribute.

Top scorer: Haaland. Nostradamus over here.

PFA player of the year: Odegaard. I would give it to him and the beating heart for this Arsenal side. Foden and Rodri are very strong contenders. I don’t think City could have done it without either of those two.

First (Second?) manager to be sacked: Paul Heckingbottom. Nostradamus strikes again.

Champions league winner: Bayern with Kane, Real with Mbappe, or City. Could be a Mbappe-less Madrid victory.

Most Excited about: Seeing United with an actual striker playing good quality football again. Laughably off-point. Nobody could have foreseen the injury blights and the rest, but 2-3 decent quality games amounted to about 5% of their games being good quality. In the end, I was most excited about Kobbie Mainoo, and found Villa’s journey very exciting.

READ: The F365 pre-season predictions revisited: How wrong we were about Man Utd…


Proud of Arsenal and some other congratulations
The league is done and dusted, clubs will take inventory on how they performed and this will have consequences for players and managers. Nothing odd, nothing strange. Just business as usual. Most seasons have something interesting though, just wanted to point a few things out.

Proud beyond words of my team (Arsenal). They were in the title race again and it’s been a long time since I was able to say and experience the highs and lows that come with it.

Putting the politics and potential violations of FFP aside, congrats to Guardiola and that ManC team. Although I do wonder how Guardiola would do at a team with less financial resources, something tells me that if he finally decides to grow tulips in his 10-acre estate he’ll be considered the best manager of all time.

Congrats to Emery! What he did at Villa is impressive. Always thought he was hard done by when got sacked during his short stint at Arsenal. Something I was very disappointed about as for me Arsenal aren’t a club to fire nilly-willy and at the time it sure felt like it to me.

Congrats to Chel$ea for thinking throwing more and more money in their team will magically fix their issues. Here’s hoping for next season where they still haven’t learned a thing.

Congrats to Klopp for leaving on his own terms and beloved by most neutral fans.

Congrats with the new coach, hope it works out for you but I think he’ll crash and burn harder than Erik ten Hag at ManU.

Congrats to ManU for still thinking that’s not where they belong instead of realizing that is where you belong because that’s where you’re at. It takes time to build especially after an iconic manager that Ferguson was.

Congrats to Everton for staying up.

And at the end the Stewie request. I’m pretty sure Football365 loves the reaction he invokes. It wouldn’t surprise me if he does it on purpose just to get a kick out of it or that someone at Football365 actually is ‘Stewie’. Here’s my request, either give him his own column so I can skip that or put his name in the title of a letter instead of at the bottom so I know it’s more drivel that adds nothing and I can skip that

Thank you.
Soei, Proud Dutch Gooner

👉 Guardiola and Arteta miss out on the big prize in our bumper end-of-season manager rankings
👉 Premier League team of the season features Arsenal trio but no Saka or Odegaard


So this is from Stewie Griffin
First off, congratulations to Citeh. I’ll avoid getting into the usual tired excuses some tend to revert to, as a means of justifying the inability to outperform Citeh. They’re just a phenomenally well-run club – sure the money is a huge factor, but then again, those making these excuses still haven’t provided a reason as to why eg Chelsea, are unable to remotely match that level of performance? 🤔

Ultimately, Guardiola is the greatest PL manager we’ve ever seen, managing the greatest PL team we’ve ever seen.

The only reason Citeh aren’t in a CL Final is because Ancelotti summoned the spirit of Pulis, in a performance reminiscent of Hodgson’s Palace winning 2-1 at the Etihad in the PL (except Palace scored from open play and had more shots than Madrid!). Citeh are the anti-bottlers, they show up in every big match – I don’t think I’ve seen this Citeh “4-peat” side ever get spanked in a big match, or not dominate one, even when they lose. They are competitive in every match and that requires an exceptional mindset to achieve, given their squad isn’t huge. Even the other greatest PL manager, Ferguson, regularly had matches where ManYoo were pummelled and shipped in loads.

The other strangely unmentioned matter that the detractors fail to mention, is that for all the tiresome “oil money” chat, Pep went to Citeh, took a precocious, inconsistent home-grown local English talent in Phil Foden (remember the media articles claiming he’d never fulfil that potential?) – and Pep has nurtured him and turned him into a PFA POTY. How much did Foden cost again? Exactly. Pep is showing a versatility in his management, not signing players with the highest PR gravitas or FC24 ratings, but quality players who suit a system.

Haaland might be an “obvious” signing but Akanji was not, Alvarez was cheap, Ortega is probably the best back-up keeper in the PL, Nathan Aké for £40m is a bargain, Bernardo Silva for £42m is one of the best signings of the past decade, etc etc.

Fact is, when did eg Arsenal last develop a top quality, local homegrown player? That was Ashley Cole, who was then promptly sold to a rival, where he won the lot 🙄.

So again, massive congrats to Pep, a simply sensational manager.

I don’t want to kick Arsenal fans while they’re down (for a change) cos the sun is shining here in London and there’s more enjoyable pastimes today. I’ll repeat that Arteta and Arsenal have done very well this season. Far less “bottle jobs” criticisms this season, as opposed to last season (a True bottle job!).

The one note of caution I’ll add is that there’s been an awful lot of platitudes and grandiose talk from Arsenal fans all year about their “best team in a decade”. This might well be true on the pitch but ultimately, the reason rival fans will habitually take the p*** is because it’s a strange look for such a “wonderful team” to have lost to the worst Bayern team of the last decade – and, although there’s no shame narrowly losing out to Citeh, the cold hard facts remain the same: 20 Years of barren longing, no league title. In that time, Leicester have won a PL.

The huge problem with the Wenger years (and 365 have the receipts from the 2006 mailbox after Arsenal lost the CL final and finished over 20 points behind Chelski) is that it massively lowered the standards of Arsenal fans. Wenger did a great job brainwashing them into believing that morsels of turd was actually truffle saucisson. Arsenal fans were furious at the very notion, but once you begin to lower the bar, it becomes an institutional rot which takes years to eradicate – and before you know it, look at that, two decades without a title. Who would have thought this was possible in 2004? But here we are.

Again, credit to Arteta because he’s very much trying to instil standards in that club that have been absent for an eternity. Even on Sunday night, as various Gooners were writing eulogies about their “pride”, Arteta was making it clear he wasn’t happy with the season. There’s a parallel there with Postecoglou at Spurs and the appearance that he seems more ambitious than many of the club’s fans.

The cold, hard reality though is that it’s been Five years, almost €700m spent and nothing to show for it in the PL or CL. The problem for Arteta is that there are other managers doing more, with less. Xavi with broke-ass Barca beating Madrid to a Liga title in his maiden season. And now, Xabi Alonso: in a domestic league where Bayern’s wage bill is greater than the sum of the rest of the top 7 Bundesliga teams combined! So it’s very, very hard for Arteta yes, but not impossible (as Klopp proved).

One thing Arsenal fans might realise next season is that when you draw 2-2 at home to 10-man Fulham, that’s cause for alarm. Yet the attitude was the usual lax “it’ll be fine, early days”. In case they hadn’t noticed, these are not normal times, and Pep Citeh aren’t a normal team. Every dumb point dropped will be ruthlessly punished. Arteta can’t just wait for Pep to leave before winning a PL, the objective has to be “beat the Greatest”, as Klopp did.

I won’t go into the positions that so obviously need upgrading (🥱) and the dross that so obviously needs moving on/benching because even Stevie Wonder can see that.

Like last summer, we will pretty much know by the time the transfer window shuts if Arteta can win the PL or not. It was clear it was never going to happen this season (not a bold call tbf lol) – but if he gets the 2-3 upgrades in that starting 11, plus the extra quality 2-3 bench players, Arsenal can absolutely win the PL next season. But to be clear, after this many years and this much money, Arteta needs to get over the line in the PL or CL next season.

Have a great summer all!
Stewie Griffin


Why should we support Arsenal?
This I think is a modern phenomenon. I certainly don’t remember anyone in the 80’s saying we should all support Everton or Spurs to rival Liverpool. Same in the 90’s and 00’s for ManU.

I think this surfaced right about the time we got the “It means more” and the “More than a club” propaganda as well as click bait going into overdrive. Football clubs and client journalists feeding a ravenous fan base with stories about how their club is “By far the greatest team the world has ever seen”. Add to that the obsession with certain media outlets who twist the slightest bit of news to get the angle that their readers will engage with mostly for clicks.

What has then happened is you have an echo chamber where some fans really do think the team they follow is better than all the others. Rather than just the same but with maybe a slightly better/more morally corrupt marketing team. These fans then go out into the wider information super highway (showing my age) and find that there is a huge number of people who are out there that don’t like you or the team you follow just because they are the team you follow.

Then these fans feel the need to tell everyone else what they should think and why they should hope that their most despised rivals should be lauded above all others for being the only thing between Man City winning the league and blowing up Alderaan.

I do not subscribe to the, everyone hates us and we don’t care, sentiment which seems to lack a certain amount of introspection. But this is also just as weird to me as the, why don’t you love me, you really should love me, sentiment that seems to have taken root in certain fanbases.

Accept that no one out there will be cheering you on once you finally dethrone the sky blue juggernaut or even finish a close second.
Simon, Woking (I especially love to hear the “by far the greatest team” song from non league teams. They know it’s not true we know it’s not true but we sing it anyway and no one expects the opposition to agree.)


The last mails on sportswashing (for now)
Seems like I kicked up quite a stink on Monday morning. So firstly, ‘The brown supremacist’ (side note – gross name to go by) neatly removed the context of my mail there so let me say it again with a bit of help using capital letters. The problem is selling oil AT THE CLIMATE CONFERENCE (cop). And is this a race problem? No, it is similarly awful that BP, shell or equinor (European O&G) sponsor art galleries and museums. Climate change is going to destroy the lives of millions, submerge entire nations, and permanently devastate wildlife/eradicate species the world over. It is the most significant global issue in the world today bar none.

Someone (maybe Peter or Paul) said something about how sportswashing doesn’t work and simultaneously that these messages are too long. So I won’t explain how sportswashing works but I encourage you to look it up… but you won’t because you have already made up your mind.

Finally, there is a general feeling that sports websites should just stick to the sport. And I would absolutely love that to be the case. My approach to reach this end is the fix the problems that face modern sport be that arms dealers or petrostates The other way is to bury your head in the sand. In the meantime, until we reach this utopia, the context of each and every win needs to be made clear.


…The greater fool is back with another defence of Man City’s owners which according to himself only required one sixteenth of a second’s thought. I can tell. Among the nonsense we have “the fact that the UAE is a collective of states and had nothing at all to do with City…” which is a mightily stupid claim when the clubs owner, Sheikh Mansour, is literally the vice president of the UAE.

Paul’s overriding claim however is that sportswashing doesn’t exist and it’s ridiculous to think this is the reason behind Abu Dhabi’s purchase of his club. Whilst not offering any other reason why the Sheikh would buy a football club in “the back arse of Manchester” but only attend one game in 15 years Paul’s supposed advanced knowledge doesn’t appear to include the UAE’s government website which has pages dedicated to its Soft Power Strategy’.

Part of their strategy is “to establish its reputation as a modern and tolerant country that welcomes all people from across the world” which it does by deploying “people diplomacy”. I’m not sure if Paul knows what ‘people diplomacy’ is but it involves co-opting average citizens as your countries representatives so they unwittingly argue in favour of your goals.

If this doesn’t give Paul pause for thought I’ll leave him with this nugget from the Danish Institute for Sports Studies which I’m sure he’ll agree are a rather smart bunch of people, “Rather than being viewed primarily as an absolute monarchy with a history of human rights issues, such as transnational repression, surveillance, and limitations on free expression and media, Abu Dhabi’s accomplishments in the realm of sports have played a significant role in rebranding the nation as an attractive destination for investments, business ventures, and tourism.”
Dave, Manchester


…With the season over I thought I would just take a moment to remind mailbox readers about the content of the 115 charges hanging over Man City’s head. There are emails, whose authenticity Man City does not dispute, in which club executives talk explicitly about how they will conceal money coming from their owners as fake sponsorships, in order to get around financial fair play rules.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport found that though UEFA had these emails they couldn’t prove that City had cheated, in the same way that finding an email about how I’m going to poison my wife’s breakfast sausage does not prove that I have poisoned my wife, even if she dies of eating poisoned breakfast sausage the next day. (Honey, if you’re reading this, don’t worry–I love sausage too much to ever put poison in it.) You need more proof, CAS said–bank account statements and the like. But when UEFA asked Man City for those statements they refused to hand them over, just as they’ve refused to hand over statements to the Premier League for years. Nothing proved! Case closed!!

And if you believe that I have a piece of the cross I’d like to sell you.

The difference between City and Lance Armstrong is that the latter had to keep cheating to win – every year a new race, every year with new drugs. With City, the cheating happened a decade ago: a huge infusion of cash and payments into the club that allowed it to become the best team in the world. When Pep points (disingenuously, I imagine, since he can’t be that stupid) to net spend numbers over the last five years and says, we’re not outspending anyone now, he’s right. They’re not cheating right now. (Net spend is a dumb metric but people use it; don’t @ me).

But the reality is that everything impressive about Man City today – the best manager, the best players, the best academy, the record 4 titles in a row, 6 of the last 7, last year’s treble, ALL OF IT – is the fruit of the period of financial doping that took place from 2008 onward.

Does Pep, who has bounced from one elite club to another over his career as a manager, really think he would have joined City had they been struggling towards the top 4, like Villa (congratulations btw) or seeking to establish themselves as part of the big 6 (hello Spurs fans!)? Would City have gotten Haaland, de Bruyne, Rodri, or any of their other fabulous players were they constrained, in their initial growth period, by the rules others were following? Of course not.

Look at Newcastle: same ownership wealth (with the added bonus of being associated with a regime that assassinates journalists) but SLOW growth because they are following the rules.

Everyone knows the situation sucks. And though I understand why some fans might prefer if City wins the title rather than any of their rivals, because City is a plastic club and its accomplishments simply don’t hurt in the way that those of our rivals do, we should all recognize in our soberer moments that the best thing that could happen to the Premier League is for the competition no longer to be distorted by cheats.
Ciborium (AFC, but rooted for Liverpool every single year they gave it a go)