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Is Southgate still the one?

Posted by john smith on

It seems odd to call for a managers head after he has gotten you to your first final in 55 years.

Someone who 3 years earlier took England to their first World Cup semi final in 28 years.

On paper, Gareth Southgate has done a fantastic job with England. But there is also a nagging doubt that England might be wasting a generation of world class attacking talent on a manager who is not up to it.

Italy won the Euro’s and one key reason behind it is they had the best manager.

Roberto Mancini is has won the league in both England and Italy and has managed some of the biggest clubs in the world.

You compare that to Southgate whose only job before joining the England set up was Middlesbrough, whom he over saw their relegation and was sacked for it.

International football used to be the place great managers went as they neared retirement.

It now feels like it is the place failed managers go to try and rebuild their career.

Belgium have wasted a golden generation of players by having them under the stewardship of Roberto Martinez. Joachim Lowe had a very poor domestic record before joining the German set up. And Luis Enrique has struggled for success outside of Barcelona – and I could have won the treble with that Barca team.

Southgate might be a great man. A clean cut leader who just gets on with the job without courting controversy. But he is not a great manager.

Against Croatia at the last World Cup he failed to make the tactical changes we were crying out for. And it was the same against Italy.

Raheem Sterling looked off the pace. Why did Southgate not take him and give Marcus Rashford a 30 minute run out in extra time? The “he was kept on to take penalties” argument died as soon he did not take one of the 5 penalties.

England were struggling to press on Italy, and this was mainly to do with Harry Kane’s lack of mobility.

Kane has had a poor tournament.

A braver manager would have taken him off for Dominic Calvert Lewin or Jadon Sancho. Both of whom could have then pressed and hurried the Italian defenders.

And that decision to put Bukayo Saka on the 5th penalty – a young man who has never taken a senior penalty – was just shocking.

I feel that a generation of fantastic attacking talent could go to waste under Southgate. But the other side of the coin is if not him, then who?

There are not exactly loads of Englishmen out their managing top clubs.