Southgate stumbles into the Quarters
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Southgate stumbles into the Quarters

03/07/24 09:14

Turgid, Dull and uninspiring. Englands Euro 2024 campaign so far has been underwhelming to say the least. The latest golden generation has stumbled through to the quarter finals, with very little to shout about.

The Golden Boy, Jude Bellingham, answered Southgate’s prayers for a saviour in the 95th minute of a shocking display against Slovakia. It was an incredible piece of mastery, a clutch moment, from a clutch player. A moment which sees Southgate somehow escape an inevitable axe being wielded should England have returned home. The boss, who has an uncanny knack of finding his team on the ‘easier’ side of the draw, must have a four leaved clover in his pocket. He will argue that you make your own luck….

Bellingham, meanwhile seems obliged to defend the group. His post match interview on Sunday was defiant, and has tongues wagging in the media and amongst the supporters. The criticism comes with the territory, and many will argue that Bellingham needs continue to do his talking on the pitch.

The fact that there is concern amongst many that Switzerland could be the ones to send England home says a lot. Yes, the Swiss are no pushovers. But the England squad is littered with talent, heavyweights that should be able to dispose of any side. Two weeks ago you’d have bitten the proverbial hand off which offered you a Quarter Final tie against the Swiss.

So how will Southgate approach this showdown on Saturday? So far, he has shown that he is unwilling to upset the apple cart, not keen to make changes to his preferred eleven. Cole Palmer will be scratching his head, his cameos have shown glimmers of what he can bring to the table. Southgate’s decision to not pick an out and out left back to be part of the squad is baffling. The impressive Marc Guehi will be absent on Saturday after picking up a booking last weekend. For many, including Gary Neville who claimed “it should be illegal” to have Trent Alexander Arnold on the bench, the Liverpool star should come in at right back, with Walker switching to the left flank. Ezri Konsa looks set to replace Guehi at the heart of defence. The Villa defender is capable, but being thrust into a quarter final line up despite having little experience will cause jitters.

There is no reason why this team cannot be crowned European Champions on 14th July. Southgate must find a way to get the best out of Phil Foden. Critics will say that Pep manages to get a wealth of superstars into a system which works, so why can’t Gareth? Maybe this emphasises that one is a world class manager, while one simply is not.

There can be no excuses. If England fail to make the final, it’ll be the final nail in Southgate’s coffin. Roll on the Swiss……

Benji Kosartiyer
Journalist
Alex Jones

Writer

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