Yet another major tournament, yet another exit and elimination for the Three Lions; England fans will now have to wait for a few years to have another chance to chant “Football’s Coming Home” again after the team’s 2-1 loss against the defending world champion France in the 2022 FIFA World Cup quarterfinal in Qatar.
As the origin where football has started, being the manager of England is no kids’ stuff, many have come and gone in a short period of time and could not realise the dream of winning another major silverware (World Cup and UEFA European Championship) with hosts of stars in the English Premier League and other primary football leagues. And not even the Golden Generation from the early 2000s could bring home a second World Cup or a first UEFA European Championship for the Three Lions, after it first won the World Cup in 1966.
Then came a guy named Gareth Southgate, who infamously missed the last penalty for England in the 1996 UEFA European Championship semifinal that resulted in a loss against Germany. The former England U-21 manager was promoted to the senior caretaking coaching role after Sam Allardyce’s resignation from his position due to the 2016 English football scandal. Southgate then penned a four-year deal as the head coach of the famous Three Lions squad.
A 60.5% Win Rate
Since the 52-year-old manager took over, England had been in six tournaments, including two World Cups and a UEFA European Championship. The Three Lions led by him achieved several wonders, including a fourth place finish in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, a third place finish in the 2018 / 2019 Nations League and a runner-up finish in the 2020 UEFA European Championship, an unparalleled feat that is not bettered by many England mangers in the past. The ex Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough defender has managed the Three Lions for more than 80 games now, and recorded a total of 49 wins (60.5%) in those matches.
What’s So Good About Southgate’s England?
England managers in the past have been known to deploy stars from the Golden Generation against teams from the globe, but the ego and club rivalries among these players had resulted in poor performance in their quest for international glories; Not even a major tournament final was accomplished during those times. Gareth Southgate-led England, on the other hand, adopted a different tactic, which is to neglect the popularity of a player and not fitting stars from similar positions forcedly into his lineup, as how former Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz had described “A realistic approach to any single game”. Although some of his selections have been controversial, the team never struggled to find a balance like how it used to be for the England side.
Regardless of the result, Southgate shouldn’t be England manager. Lovely guy. But not experienced enough. Got to get an elite level coach.
— Joey Barton (@Joey7Barton) November 11, 2016
Should He Stay or Leave Then?
This major question has been buzzing the football world even before the World Cup, in which the Three Lions had to sadly bow out from after fighting brave against Didier Deschamps’ Les Bleus. Many have been speculating that Southgate would be sacked regardless of England’s performance in Qatar, but the reasons behind these rumours were not solely footballing ones.
After losing to Italy via a gruesome penalty shoot-out in the final of last year’s UEFA European Championship, many have taken to the internet to verbally abuse the three penalty takers who missed their spot kicks, who happen to be of black communities with racial chants. Besides, prior to the Qatar World Cup, political questions regarding the tournament as well as host nation were thrown at the England manager. Things like these could be mentally exhausting for a national team manager, not to mention someone who is managing the country which founded the football sports.
As for the football side, the Football Association, pundits, players, both former and current ones have called for Southgate to continue his reign as the England gaffer. Should he stay and build the team based on the winning foundation that he has laid for the Three Lions, we would not need too long to see England winning another major trophy, especially when he is blessed with young talents like Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford, Phil Foden, etc.
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(Photo Credits: Stadium Astro)