Two down, Two to go; Southgate maintains an unbeaten record and shows he may be the right man for the job…

Two down, Two to go; Southgate maintains an unbeaten record and shows he may be the right man for the job…
Oct 18, 2016


We are now half way through Southgate’s interim spell as England manager and things really haven’t been all that bad; still unbeaten, yet to concede and at times we have actually played some decent football, or at least compared with what we have been witnessing for the past 4 years.

Nonetheless, it is obviously far too early to judge just how good or bad Southgate will prove to be, a routine win over Malta and a disappointing stalemate with Slovenia are hardly good measurements as to just where he can steer our national side.

The bottom line is, Gareth has inherited quite a monstrosity left by Hodgson, the only way we are going to see any sort of turnaround is to give someone a little time to try and repair the damage, this isn’t a side that can be revamped after 3 or 4 games, it’s going to be months of hard work, dedication and commitment. Why not let the man to take us forward be him?

Southgate is 19 years younger than Hodgson was when he took the England job and 15 years younger than Allardyce, a younger manager with fresh ideas is what we’ve been crying out for; the huge potential for a long term manager in charge of our national side is a factor that really does make me buy into the FA’s latest appointment.

Furthermore, Southgate is someone who has been to a major tournament as a player, not only that, he has reached the latter stages of a major competition with England. He’s got 57 international caps, the same can’t be said for anyone since Keegan back in 1999. He knows the international stage, he knows how to succeed on it too. I mean, anything close to the semi-finals witnessed in 1996 would be a massive success, right?

Although I don’t agree with it whatsoever, the decision to call up Glen Johnson was a bold one, something most managers wouldn’t have it in them to do. As I say, I don’t agree with it but I respect the guts it took to drift away from the norm, to select a player who is part of the second worst defence in the Premier League, knowing that you will get some scrutiny for it, that is the sort of risk taker the national side needs. And to his credit, you can see where he is coming from, an experienced 32-year old with over 50 England caps, there is a possibility that Glen Johnson may well have been able to contribute something to the squad, whether on or off the pitch. Hopefully this is the sign of things to come, some more risks, some more controversial decisions that take us away from the usual suspects that get call ups every time England play. The likes of Scott Dann, Jonjo Shelvey, Aaron Cresswell and Troy Deeney genuinely have a prospect of an England call up.

Also, having been the England U21 manager since 2013, he has had a lot of time to work with the players coming through the system, the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, James Ward-Prowse, Nathan Redmond, Calum Chambers and Dominic Iorfa, the players that will one day be the first names on the team sheet. It can only be healthy for these talented youngsters to move through the England set up being overseen by the same manager they had at U20 and U21 level. Not to mention they actually experienced some success at that level under the guidance of Southgate.

I say give him time, let’s see what he can do. He’s different to anything we have had before, a man that has been in around the international set up for his whole career, player and manager, he seems to know what he wants and is confident he can produce it; confidence is not to be underestimated in this job. This should be an exciting time for everyone, hopefully a chance to enjoy watching our national team when they walk out at Wembley, a chance to go into 2018 with some belief that we can actually produce something worth talking about. A new era where we forget players that make the squad simply because they play for a top 4 side. The Premier League is filled with talent, it goes further than Old Trafford and The Emirates.

Two down, two to go; Southgate maintains an unbeaten record and shows he may be the right man for the job…




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