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Sorry England, Gareth Southgate is not the man to lead you to the World Cup title

Sorry England, Gareth Southgate is not the man to lead you to the World Cup title

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Durban — Going into every tournament, there is always immense pressure on England to perform and reach the latter stages. This could be something that works against them.

Since taking charge of England in 2016, Gareth Southgate has naturally and rightfully attracted a lot of praise. He brought about unity to the team , something which they lacked for several years including in the David Beckham/Frank Lampard/Steven Gerrard era.

Southgate is a good mentor. Had it not been for his unifying influence, the Three Lions would not have reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup before following that up with the runners-up spot at the 2020 European Championships.

Being a good mentor does not necessarily mean that one is a good coach and Southgate’s tactical approach has also rightfully come under fire recently. Should England fail to go far in Qatar, there are good arguments that he is not the right man for the job. England’s squad depth is as good as any other team at the tournament, and they should have been playing better than their form heading into the Qatar World Cup.

England head into their opening fixture against Iran on Monday having failed to win any of their last six games. This sequence of results suggests that chemistry within the side may not be high and the players are simply not gelling.

Concerning for England is the fact that this poor run of results includes two losses against Hungary (a nation that did not even qualify for the World Cup by an aggregate of 5-0) and an Italian team in a major rebuilding phase. Italy have parted ways with a number of stalwarts as they look to rebuild following their failure to qualify for the World Cup, but not even they may have even expected to beat England at the San Siro in September.

Overall, England do have a well-balanced squad heading to Qatar. But it should be noted that talent has never been their problem. Their weakness is an over-reliance at times on Harry Kane up front, and they also look a bit thin in midfield.

Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham is the only England player in the middle of the park who will instil fear into the opposition. It remains to be seen if Southgate will also hand game time to Manchester City’s Kalvin Phillips, who is not yet fully fit as he recovers from injury.

England should beat Iran in their World Cup opener but against the USA and Wales, they may have potentially tough games. Winning their group may not be as easy as many think.


IOL Sport

Original Article

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