Southgate out? Southgate in? First England reactions to the sh*tshow are here

Date published: Wednesday 15th June 2022 8:14 - Sarah Winterburn

England manager Gareth Southgate with Kalvin Phillips

Well that England performance woke everybody up from their post-season daze. We have lots of views on Southgate, that defence and more.

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Not this time
Can’t wait to see how F365 are going to blame Harry Maguire for this sh*tshow.

Nice dive by the way Sir Harry of Kane.
The Don


Damn right
So…after the Hungary game, surely Phil Neville climbs a few places, no?
Naz, Gooner


Here we go again…
Oh god the worst thing about today means it’s back to 8 defensive players it is for the next 3 years!


Ten conclusions to the sh*tshow
I imagine tonight’s result might finally get some reaction about England’s Nations League matches, so I thought try and throw my two penneth in. Obviously after four games with no goals other than a (probably dubious) penalty, no wins and two defeats they’ll be mostly negative.

1 Please no ‘it’s been a long hard season’ excuses. Yes it has, but this is the case for all countries. It’s still a level playing field and really we ought to be playing in an actual World Cup currently.

2 In fairness Southgate experimented with formations, not always playing the double pivot, but still largely refuses to deviate from his runners and workers selection strategy.

3 New(ish) players were tried and given a chance but all very Southgate types. Gallagher, Bowen, Ward-Prowse, none are bad players but are generally energetic types who could be effective if paired with others who are genuinely creative. However the old favourites like Rice, Philips, Mount, Sterling are also runners/workers who require actual creative players to feed off.

4 Expect to get stick for this next one. I don’t see him for Dortmund but I’ve yet to watch Jude Bellingham do anything for England (in quite a few performances) to justify the fawning and belief he’s the answer to any particular question right now. He’s neat and tidy and pretty composed but doesn’t seem to affect the game especially. That’s fine, he’s a teen with plenty of time to develop and may be very good soon enough. But he doesn’t seem ready for the more sink or swim by your own ability nature of international football, however good he is in the highly coached club game for one of the top sides in his league.

5 I like Reece James, it’s amazing how much better at right back than left back actual right backs are.

6 Raheem Sterling gives the ball away a hell of a lot. F365 even admitted it in the player rating this time!

7 Given there are now only two games to the World Cup these matches seemed like a wasted opportunity to find the players and system to have a little more flair and creativity (note a little more, Southgate’s critics aren’t demanding he selects 10 attackers). Just had further testing of which players can run a lot and show discipline. Which brings me to my favourite hobbyhorse.

8 Jack Grealish. I’d love to see him given the same chances as his rivals for a wide forward position, ie a run of games with other first choices and an actual plan. Instead he largely only starts in experimental sides or gets thrown on as a late sub with a ‘everyone says you’re good so turn round this turgid performance’ brief. Didn’t see the Italy game, which was admittedly 0-0, but apparently he made four key passes which I expect put him ahead of most. Good job he missed tonight otherwise it would’ve been all his fault and he wouldn’t be picked for two years.

9 We’ll see, but I fear the World Cup will again show England as a stodgy side who usually create few chances and beat/draw with who they should. Then get knocked out by the first genuinely good side they face. Except this time that will likely be last 16/quarter final rather than the last 4/final thanks to a lopsided draw.

10 Despite all this it is really, really counterproductive booing the team and manager so vocally. Even more so individual players. Ever the statesman, Southgate spoke very well post-match.
Ronnie Buzzard, Manchester


Can we question Southgate now?
Do we get to question Sir Gareth yet or are we still pretending that publicly speaking well and creating a ‘good environment’ makes up for being absolutely tactically clueless when in charge a very talented (albeit fatigued) bunch of players?
J Belfast (swap Gareth Southgate and Ian Barraclough and there would be no discernible difference in performance)


…Just wondering…I got a lot of abuse for saying Southgate’s tactics were awful during the European Championships. We reached the final in spite of Southgate, not thanks to Southgate. Will my critics now accept that Southgate doesn’t really have a clue? He has a Plan A, if that doesn’t work, he hasn’t a clue how to fix the problem. You reach a final and you play with 7 defence-minded players. If you win, fine. You didn’t win though, did you? Also, hilarious that everybody is now calling for his head. The same people who thought he did brilliantly during the Euros. Make your minds up.
G Thomas, Breda


…Southgateers Oomph! Yes you F365 and John Nic! Anyone who criticised dear Gareth was met with ‘know your history he’s the most successful England manager of recent times’.

Yet and yet he continues to deliver the most abject of all performances in the Nations League. All the goals came down England’s right. TAA wasn’t even playing so no excuses.

We were missing the assuredness of Maguire in the centre to hold and control the line. Where was Rashy to punch holes in their defence? Where was Shaw over-lapping to deadly effect? J-Lingz not even in the squad!

There’s a certain guy in Norway twiddling his thumbs. Come on FA show your cohones!
Good Wolf (Manchester United behind City)


UEFA and FIFA responsible for this
Yes, it was bad. Spanked 0-4 at home by an unfancied country. But, let’s just think about where the real blame lies. Off the back of a covid-adjusted mad season, let’s not have a proper break. Let’s play 2020 fixtures in 2021. Let’s have a Euros. After the Euros, let’s not have a proper break. Let’s kick the season off even earlier. Let’s have Chelsea play in the Club World Cup. Let’s have West Ham play a gruelling Europa League campaign. Let’s have AFCON. Let’s have a revamped Europa League with even more games for even more teams. Let’s have an expanded Champions League. Let’s have a ridiculous Italy vs Argentina for no reason. Let’s have a new Nations League.

Also, let’s have the best competition ever in the Premier League with the best managers who basically demand full throttle every game or you’re out. Let’s have the season go down to the final day. Let’s immediately play a Champions League Final. I know, then let’s not have a break at all before next season as there’s a Winter World Cup. Good grief. Can’t anybody see that they are absolutely knackered? A fully fit and fresh first choice England XI would beat Hungary, particularly a competitive fixture. The only real reason as to why tonight failed is sheer tiredness, and mental and physical exhaustion. A lot of the major nations haven’t taken many points during this Nations League monstrosity. Here’s why. GIVE THEM A BREAK!
Rich (Southgate in, and I’d rather see them all on the beach having a good rest than anywhere near a pitch at the moment), Cambridge

Turning on Southgate and co is ludicrous

So here we go, open season on the England manager and the team…again. Very limited and lazy journos, presenters (you know who you are Adrian Durham!) and other click baiters have settled on their chosen theme – this time it’s negative tactics, too negative in his approach, too tactically limited, blah blah blah. If you want to mix it up a bit, throw in a simple ‘would he get a top-6 Premier League job’ in there (you know who you are Stephen Warnock!) and you really sound like you know what you’re talking about.

Even better, when people point to the progression and success the England team has enjoyed in recent years (from an extremely low emotional and physical starting point) you can answer this with a simple ‘but we didn’t win’. All of the recent success should be very quickly qualified – try ‘it was a very easy route to the final’ or ‘we folded in the big games’. However, do not in any way qualify the recent run of results in the Nations League. Any suggestion that this is a load of games at the end of a very busy season with a load of changes taking place does not in any way qualify the poor results, or even explain them – only negative tactics can do that (or indeed anything with ‘negative’ or ‘limited’ in the sentence will do).

Come on! Really??! This is ridiculous even by English standards. The team is not suddenly rubbish, the manager is not suddenly rubbish, we do not need to press the panic button. The players are knackered, they do need a rest (hah, how dare you suggest this, molly coddled highly paid footballers should be flogged until they bleed from their boots!!), Southgate needs to experiment with different players, ways of playing, etc. Honestly, when else can he actually try out new things? And sometimes it doesn’t work. As long as you learn and take it into tournament play, that is absolutely fine. Reality is you learn when you lose, not when you win.

So please please please do not suggest we bring in Jose. Leaving aside just how much he is past it, do remember we tried that – Capello anyone? Please don’t suggest we need wholesale changes, set up the whole team to play to Kane/Grealish/Foden/A N Other. Take a breath, chill out, wait for the proper stuff to begin.

Maybe don’t read or listen to the drivel that is going to be spewed out for the next few days (remember they need to drive up ad revenue, etc.) and make your own mind up when winter comes!
Stozzer, Completely Desensitised Gunner


Keep faith, Arsenal fans
I know that it is hard watching the current era of Klopp and Guardiola but it won’t last forever just like Ferguson and Wenger or Liverpool in the 70’s/80’s. All things end eventually.

Arsenal can’t immediately compete with City or Liverpool but we are improving. We may not of made signings yet but we know Arsenal’s priorities are a left sided number 8 and a striker. We also know the number 1 targets are Tielemans & Jesus. It’s obvious that Arsenal have been working on both of these deals for some time and continue to do so. If we land both targets this window will be successful and we will be better than last season.

Haaland likes the number 9 which is currently Jesus’. His future will be decided shortly as everyone knows he wants to be first choice in the run up to the World Cup.

I think the clear strategy and targets is decisive. Unfortunately, we don’t have a truck load of money or Champions League which means things take time but I believe signings will be made before the start of pre season which is the key date.

Fingers crossed and have faith (remember last summer).
Croydon Gooner


Musings from an Arsenal fan
In response to John Matrix AFC, you do realize that the season doesn’t start for another around 6 weeks? Why are you getting your knickers up in a twist? As an aside, when has Arsenal attracted the best players even with Champions League football? Why do you think Saka would be sold? You don’t have to be this pessimistic about Arsenal because there is still a lot of time left for us to sign the players we would need for a top 4 chase next season. Next season’s fixtures haven’t even been announced yet. Please calm down.

We have to keep our powder dry and continue to work hard to get the players that can perform up to the standards set at Liverpool and City but at a cheaper price. A Diza like signing wouldn’t hurt us so we can keep looking. I would trust the team that got us Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, White, Odegaard and Tavares to also do their magic again for next season. Do you know how many goals Richarlison scored despite playing way more minutes than Nketiah but scored only 1 more goal if I am correct.

Tottenham target Richarlison in action for Everton against Spurs

As per the Nations League, it is a(nother) success story from UEFA that keeps Europe as the standard for football in the world. This way, their strong countries continue to get top class opponents and get stronger. France, for all their famed talents, were uninterested yesterday and the results showed. Now they can’t retain their Nations League title. If England get relegated to the Group B, Harry Kane can eventually get the chance to further destroy the goal scorer’s charts for the 3 Lions. Also, the attendances at the games have been very impressive so that apathy towards the matches are certainly in the minority.

Grealish hasn’t lived up to the expectation since his move to City. Partly because he comes across to me as someone that doesn’t really care about results of matches or doesn’t let the things that fans are concerned about get to him. His talents are obvious and maybe after a season at City, next season would see him explode and deliver on his promise.

City and Liverpool have shown over the past few seasons that they are the standard and teams to beat. However, with Nunez and Haaland arriving, that standard has been taken a notch higher. What this means is that other teams must step up and look for players, especially those that are not performing well for clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona. Brighton for example would make a massive profit on the impending sale of Cucurella to City or Chelsea, What this means is that there are still good players all over Europe, excellent scouting is what is needed to compete at the top.
Francis (Osimhen for Arsenal) Redheart


Liverpool saving us for a FEW MORE YEARS? Really?
Am I the only one who has been taken aback by this ‘without us, Man City will be set for a FEW MORE YEARS of unopposed dominance’, which as one of my teachers used to say, is frankly, a beautiful nonsense.

How many more years then exactly? We are supposed to thank you then? O’ great saviours of ours, we can only rely on you, save us from the evil citizens, they have tormented us and we have found ourselves powerless in the face of their irresistible ability, only you can fight it, Lord Liverpool. If you do so, we will indeed be grateful.

Yes, I suppose we are in their debt for challenging City for two of the last five years. You don’t agree? For last season, you have our thanks, Emperor Liverpool. For the season before last, Man City were practically unopposed. Before then, Liverpool won unopposed. Before then, you have our gratitude, Shogun Liverpool for the 97-point season. Before then, Man City went unopposed. Two! For two seasons, Liverpool have challenged the the natural forces they wish us to believe Man City are, and for that, we are to believe that Man City are unstoppable without them.

What about Chelsea? A questioner asks, ‘No, you can forget them, they will keep uselessly challenging for top 4 for the next few years’, came the reply. Are we then to forget that they did challenge for one half of last season? That teams who do that suggests inexperience, and should be able to challenge for a full season THIS time around? That they have a coach who has all the necessary qualifications and skills to challenge anyone else?

What about Spurs? ‘O please’, came the reply, ‘Spurs are Spurs’. Are we then to forget that they have a coach who has never failed to challenge and win a league title since his days with the smaller sides of the Serie a? That they have scarily found out that they need new fullbacks, a CB and a back up forward, and have gone about efficiently finding them? Conte is then, supposed to leave having never challenged for the title because the unwritten rule states that only Great King Liverpool is allowed that honour for a FEW MORE YEARS??

What about Man Utd and Arsenal? ‘Well, they may improve, but nothing close to challenging for a FEW MORE YEARS’. How many exactly? 2, 3 or 4? Do you not see? Or is it that you have closed your eyes so that you refuse to see?

Yes, Liverpool are a good team, I don’t mind that they have logically spent €80 million on Nunez. It is their money, they choose how best to spend it. They have many reasonable fans, that will not tell you that they are the only ones that can challenge for a FEW MORE YEARS. They also have many more that sincerely believe everyone but themselves will forever remain static or inconsequentially good for a FEW MORE YEARS. They have a great manager and a team just as great and legendary. You are the surest bet to take the title to the last day again next season if you yourselves are not to win it, but you don’t have to lie to yourselves that neither Chelsea nor Tottenham are likely to be there as well. You don’t have to lie to yourselves that Man Utd are still a badly run club wasting money on egos without any plan whatsoever. You don’t have to lie to yourselves that Arsenal will never return. And surely, you don’t have to lie to yourselves, that it will remain between Your Majesty and Man City for the next FEW YEARS.


Football is ridiculous
Why does the World of Football Fans (WoFF) have to be like this?

Klopp: is less toxic than the average manager
Also Klopp: says something slightly toxic after the Spurs game
WoFF: this proves Klopp is the world’s worst person and a hypocrite

Liverpool: spend substantially less than rivals over a long period of time
Also Liverpool: spend a lot of money on a player
WoFF: this proves Liverpool are a spending club and hypocrites

Why can’t we just allow Klopp to be a decent guy, but not a saint. And Liverpool to be a club that just spends a normal amount for its size and revenue?
Christian, (defensive Liverpool fan, obviously) Copenhagen


Liverpool are not bad in the air already
I have heard this a couple of times now (Lee, transfer costs etc in this morning’s mailbox)

Liverpool have bough Nunez to help with our lack of a heading threat!..(clearly amongst other things)

Liverpool have scored more than (or equal to) anyone else from headers in every one of the last 4 seasons…

We have plenty threat from headers…

So lets hope Nunez keeps up his above XG for the next few season and Klopp does with him what he seems to do with the majority of his signings and makes him really really really good.. (or simply much better than they were)

The rest of Lee’s email regarding if he fits its a good signing, I totally and utterly agree with.

The fees are essentially only used by media and other fans (neither of whom pay these fees themselves so why care) to slag other teams off..

Oh and City don’t need a goal scorer for the prem.. they score plenty of goals…usually the most in fact….I can only assume it’s their attempt to make the difference in the CL (they have won the league quite a lot recently without a ‘proper striker’ in case you hadn’t noticed).
Al – LFC


When prices are relevant…
Lee from Tuesday morning’s mailbox wrote about how the fees for a player should be ignored because “price is really irrelevant” (you’ll probably have a few of these responses). Unfortunately Lee this would only be the case where clubs had unlimited funds. I can think of two and a half reasons why the price your club pays for a player is relevant to the fans:

1) Clubs have a fixed budget each year to spend on new players. If United have £200m to spend and spend £200m on Frenkie De Jong when they need to buy at least a right back, a right sided forward, and a couple of midfielders then this is relevant. If the club spends all its budget on one player, thus not being able to fix the squad elsewhere, then it does matter how much that player cost.

2) Clubs generally have to make profit to stay afloat long term. If price was irrelevant and Liverpool went and bought Kylian Mbappe for £700m or whatever his release clause is, this would hurt the club’s business a lot, putting them into massive losses and putting the existence of the club at risk.

and the half would be that a player’s price is a function of their supply and demand, and both of those are dependent on their skill levels, position, quality etc. The price does a good job (as do wages, sort of) of expressing who your club is buying relative to other teams at the time. If City are buying their normal £50m full backs but United suddenly starting only getting players for sub £10m, it would indicate that unless there had been a drastic improvement in United’s scouting department (har har), that they were buying worse players.

That last one is a bit more jokey, but in general I feel that player’s price is relevant to fans.
Calum, MUFC, Wokingham


Pounds v Euros
James Outram, Wirral, there’s a reason that some transfer fees are reported in euro rather than pounds. In short it’s to ensure accuracy.

This deal appears to have been negotiated in euro. You can usually tell which currency was used based on which is the more rounded figure. I mean, it’s very unlikely Liverpool and Benfica are quibbling over £50k here and there.

As the deal was negotiated in euro the value in pounds will vary depending on when the deal is finalised/when the various installments are paid.

For example, €100m is worth approximately £85.85m today. However, eight weeks ago the same €100m would have been worth £82.9m.

Given the UK Government’s determination to tank the pound again with their disastrous Northern Ireland Protocol policy stance it would be prudent of any European club to negotiate any sales to British clubs in euro.

What has been established throughout the negotiations is that Benfica will get €100m into their bank account at some stage. How much Liverpool pay in pounds to get to that value is of no concern to Benfica.


Transfermarkt Blues
There has been a lot of discussion on the price of players in recent days, with Transfermarkt values being used to defend their arguments. While there is no real way to evaluate how much a player will cost, this is possibly not the best method. From a recent Guardian article, the values in the German league are decided by someone whose main job is as a social worker.

“I spend a bit of my free time on my computer at home, estimating prices. And the football industry then takes these valuations seriously,” said Martin Freundl, who decides the market values of all players in the German Bundesliga.

“It’s unreal. I’m just a social worker. I do this Transfermarkt work for fun and the football industry is worth millions. The contrast is insane.”

While it is as good a place as any to get an idea of how much a player could cost, in reality, a player is only worth what the buying club is prepared to spend and what the selling club is prepared to accept. No other value matters and certainly not what a social worker in Germany decides.
Morgan (Dublin)


How shit has your season been?
I’m so very bored of the constant transfer oneupmanship; who cares about the money spent? It’s not yours and just to be clear, the club doesn’t care about you either; at best you’re a number on a marketing spreadsheet.

So, let’s talk local football, lower than lower leagues stuff. I play (badly) in goal for my local village 3rd XI. Our commune has 1500 residents, yet we put out 3 adult teams, women’s 8 a side, U18, U16, U15, U13, U11, U9 and U7 teams. We have our own floodlit grass pitch and a floodlit artificial pitch. The changing rooms are new and clean. All of this in real farmer’s leagues.

It has been a truly awful season here. 108 goals conceded, 4 of which were my fault! Xg would have been around 250, so I did ok. I conceded the same goal around 70 times (you know the one, City score it a lot, cross to tap in at the back post), my defence is truly appalling. They insist on holding a high line but don’t have any pace at all. Harry Maguire turns quicker than our left back and we’re carrying at least 4 terrible players per match. It becomes harder and harder to turn up.

Anyone else able to do worse? Did anyone have a worse season, a truly shocking game, a terrible thrashing from the local rivals? Let’s wallow a little in our rubbishness, celebrate some terrible football at the lowest possible level. Share your disasters,
Dan – farmer’s league in France

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