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Southgate sack, ‘invisible’ Saka slammed,’obvious’ Bellingham change demanded in angry England Mailbox

The first England Mailbox does not make pleasant reading for Gareth Southgate or Harry Kane. Trent Alexander-Arnold is also among those who must be dropped.

Send your thoughts to theeditor@football365.com

Coast guard
Ivory Coast sacked their coach half way through AFCON and ended up winning it.

They couldn’t, could they?
Paul

Southgate stops at red lights on Grand Theft Auto

Southgate turns on power saving when his mobile phone reaches 99%

Southgate plays for the fairway on a par 3

Southgate gets a plain ham sandwich, banana and a bottle of Buxton in a Tesco Meal Deal

Southgate would take the minus offer on The Chase

Southgate orders a butter chicken when he goes for a curry.

Shut the door (quietly) on your way out Gareth

Yours safely,
Keith Laird

It takes a great manager to neutralise the talents of Bellingham, Saka, Foden, Kane, Trent and Rice.

Congratulations Gareth.
Stan, LFC

It could be worse
Dear English people,

Please stop moaning about being unbeaten at a major tournament.

Yours,
Robert, An Irishman in Birmingham. 

England are just not that good
As I type this, there are nearly 80 minutes gone in the game against Denmark. We might still win. But so might Denmark.

I just don’t get all the negative talk from the pundits, saying England should be doing this, or that, or anything that is different to what they are doing’. The problem is that England aren’t actually that good.

They’ve got some decent players of course. But, those top quality players – Kane, Bellingham, Saka, Rice & Foden – all play for teams with far better players. City, Arsenal, Bayern & Real Madrid would all batter England. They play better because they have better players around them.

When I hear Alan Shearer saying ‘why doesn’t Rice burst forward more? He does it for Arsenal’ it’s because Arsenal are, man for man, much better than England.

It’s simply a continuation of the traditional ‘Little Englander’ mentality whereby far too many English folks still think that England matters in any way shape or form. Football, political power on the world stage, military strength. It’s always the same.

I’m English, but I live in France and so even though it’s not that far, I can see with the blinders off. England are a very average football team. It is also a very average – and worryingly racist – country. That’s where the unrealistic attitudes come from. Foreigners? We can beat them….we invented the game!

I know that politically, France has some similar issues. But they do have a genuinely good football team. Italy is the same.

England might still win tonight. But win the Euros? Not a f***ing chance! Get used to it.
Stu – Gooner waiting for the real stuff to start in August – in France

Dear All

After watching England labour to a 1-1 draw against Switzerland and now just over 30 minutes into Spain v Italy,  I’m perplexed how England are/tipped to win this.  So far the way Spain are playing they’d cut England to pieces.

Don’t get me wrong,  I’d love to see us win a major trophy before I’m worm food or an ornament on one of my children’s mantlepieces. But at this early stage of the Euros,  nations like Spain,  Germany,  France and even the way Austria pressed against their loss against France seem like more cohesive units. I know I’ve probably missed out other good performances by other countries but for the first time in my 47 years on this earth I started to believe in the hype surrounding England pre tournament kick off. But after that final whistle against the Swiss I’m now starting to think it will end in the same narrative – promise so much but little on delivery.

Cheers All
Nik (P.S I hope I’m wrong and England suddenly click)

Drop Kane and carry on
Dear Editor,

GK: fine. Back 4: fine. Then the problems begin. My solution. 1 holding midfielder and he HAS to sit only: Rice. 2 ahead of him as Box-to-Box 8/10s: Foden and Bellingham. 2 wide forwards: Saka or Bowen, Gordon or Palmer. 1 striker: Watkins.

And push the whole team 20 yards higher up the pitch.

I don’t think Kane is fit. He is one of the best ever strikers, but he’s just not moving and he’s dropping too deep always which makes us retreat further and further back as the game goes on. Foden and Bellingham at their clubs play with wide forwards and/or poachers who keep their teams up the pitch and give 10s and wide forwards a space to operate. Most players play in clubs with a back 4, 3 in midfield, and 3 up top, apart from Kane who I am dropping. So, 4-3-3 with Watkins up top, Rice in a very disciplined DM and Foden and Bellingham in CM-AM roles. Now that will get us far…

I actually think Southgate will ring the changes for the final game. Gareth, if you read just one thing (RIP Michael Mosley), read my effort here. Thanks.
Rich (WBA, keep King Carlos Corberan at all costs), Cambridge

From ‘invisible’ Saka to ‘excellent’ Rice
Pre-match: Scotland learned and changed, Iron Gareth is not for turning.

First half: Foden is finding (and critically, receiving passes while in) space, but mostly not in very dangerous areas. Still, much better. He’s the only one offering threat and energy.

Trent starts as usual, with either backwards or hopeful passes, the latter going astray. Oh and he got nutmegged too haha. Seems to spend an inordinate amount of time looking around wondering where he should be, and taking heavy touches. Excellent. Even managed to get away with a back pass. Walker took a knock and we were all secretly hoping it’s both not serious and yet serious enough Trent can be moved out to RB. Likely Gareth too, so he doesn’t have to make a decision.

Some fortunate bobbles for the goal, but well finished. The wife made a sardonic comment when the commentary team said that Walker sneaked up on the defender for the goal: “Well he’s used to sneaking around behind people’s backs.”

Excellent equalising goal from our throw in and then people standing around watching instead of pressing. Classic.

Saka has been invisible. Guehi and Stones good. Rice excellent. But up front, just so little movement or energy – at times literally standing still and passing to each other – and when we move the ball it’s slow, tedious and predictable. Wife: “It’s like a bunch of geriatrics playing against a football team.” Just no ideas, living on a prayer that someone does something unexpected. Kane hardly moving, dropping deep, doing little and got a goal on a plate. Is he above running now he’s at Bayern? Bellingham looks spent; not good.

📣TO THE COMMENTS! How can Southgate fix that England mess? Join the debate here.

Side point: massive fail from BBC to have the “token women on the pitch, away from the serious men folk in the studio”. Not a great look.

Second half: Trent made a good run through the middle before demonstrating his excellent passing by… messing the pass up. Almost kind of played in Saka with his first successful long ball. Then taken off for the first of the flies. “For energy.”

Bellingham starts making some runs, plays the ball in to where the striker should be. But he’s standing further wide than Saka. WTAF.

Foden disappeared again.

Christ, if we ever need to diffuse the energy from a nuclear weapon we should make it watch this game. You know what this needs? The England band.

Kane drops deep to pass to Saka who then has no one to pass to himself. *Facepalm*

60 minutes, we’ve had about 4 shots. What is this?

On comes fly #2, an actual striker and an actual left winger! Unfocused energy ensues with no up turn in outcome. Guehi did a bad and then a good to recover. Good lad.

88m mark at 1-1 and Gareth “Mr Vibes” Southgate is preaching calmness… pahaha

Put a fork in this, we’re done here. Yeah, win the next game and we’re through. As if that looks plausible lol
Badwolf (Listening to Walker, apparently the manager wants them to play fluid attacking football hahaha)

Bellingham is not peak Messi
That was absolute dog dirt from England. Every single player in the middle of the pitch was out fought and out thought by their Danish counterparts. Absolutely none of the players that came on for England contributed to the match at all. In fact, Gallagher came on and managed to be worse than Trent, which is an achievement to be fair.

When the tournament started I was really excited to see how England would fair with really exciting talent to come on in the second half of matches in Mainoo, Palmer, Gordon and Wharton. They’ve had four minutes between them and England have been rubbish. The clamour for any one of those to start the next game is going to start growing. Few of the players that have featured thus far have made any sort of claim they should be playing instead.

Harry Kane needs to stay up front. I don’t care how good he is at linking the play he’s not as good as the plethora of midfielders we have that Gareth doesn’t want to play. Stay up front Harold. Score goals, stretch the play. See Rasmus Hojlund staying in the centre backs all game. Enabled Denmark to push on to us. He didn’t score but he also didn’t give the ball away in the edge of his own box.

Also, Jude Bellingham is clearly a fantastic talent but he’s not peak Messi. He doesn’t need to play every minute of every game. He wasn’t in the game tonight, maybe try subbing him and improving his freshness for the next game? England over the years have had a habit of relying on one great player, probably to the detriment of the rest of the team or trying to fit several top players in regardless of position. See Robson, Beckham and the whole Gerrard/Lampard/Scholes bollocks (clearly we should’ve played Scholes). We need to avoid making that mistake with Bellingham and ensuring that we have a team and not Bellingham plus 10.

I’ve just heard Kyle Walker say the reason for England being rubbish was “it’s tournament football”. Kyle, my friend, just because England are usually rubbish at tournaments doesn’t mean we have to continue the trend. Maybe, if we start playing football we might win a tournament?
Ash Metcalfe

Does anyone know why Southgate is so hesitant to play Bellingham a bit deeper? Deep lying playmakers are all the rage these days, and if Bellingham is everything he’s supposed to be (and I think he is), he should be more than capable of being very effective there, and it’s not like he is alien to the position, he certainly wasn’t playing as far forward for Dortmund as he is currently.

Just makes no sense crowbarring a clearly unsuited Trent into midfield just to play to the strengths of one player. As good as Bellingham is, he alone won’t win us the Euros.

I’m always loathe to be the kind of armchair manager who thinks they know better, but this one is about as obvious as you’re ever going to get.

For the love of god Gareth, stop pissing around and do what clearly needs to be done.
Marc, Bolton.

You lot miss your biggest goal threat from previous tournaments: questionable set pieces aimed at the slabby head of Sir Harold of Maguire.

But seriously, drop Bellingham deep to link midfield to attack and replace TAA with any winger. Otherwise I’m scared you’ll shithouse your way to the title like Greece 2004.
Ollie, Edinburgh

Blame the press
This is on the media in my humble opinion. No one wants to manage England (who have one of the best squads in world football) because of the certain clownery that will be printed in the press when things don’t go right.

So we’re stuck with Southgate,  a man who (I personally believe) fluked his way to good finishes in two tournaments and has been gifted group stage draws his entire tenure.

I’m not one of those fans who thinks they could do better. I’m not. My football history is vast but it’s also almost entirely vacant of the technical side of things – something I believe most fans would admit to when they haven’t drunk the bar dry. But someone could definitely work this bunch of players into enough of a shape to win a tournament.

So yeah. England were pants. The players were sloppy. The manager moves at a glacial pace when doing anything vaguely tactical. But we could do so much better if our press wasn’t a shambles.

Free Palestine and all that.
Stu (AFC) in sunny Illinois

Bring on the noise
Interview with Kane. “ we know there will be noise”

It’s the new buzzword for any type of critique at all.

No Harry. Your manager is awful. Teams have improved.

Southgate cannot manage a football team. He’s so limited. He spends years picking his favourites, only to wait till the game before it starts to play TAA in the middle.

The noise is deafening Harry. It’s called criticism. But the more you ignore it the more you will dig your own finish.

Bye England. Oh, and I guess when you take Foden out of a world class team he shines as being *actually* not the love child of Pele and Cruyff
Ade

Tactic talk
Given that scoring a goal seems to lead to our players losing interest and falling apart, why don’t we start off all of our games with a swift own goal, to give us a sense of urgency for the rest of the match? I’m currently unemployed if the FA are still looking for Southgate’s successor.
John, Burnham-on-Crouch

Building into the tournament? Sheesh. I think we may be the worst team to watch! Appreciate all that Southgate has done but he is being out tactic’d by proper managers who set up with a proactive plan and who’s teams are empowered to play with actual bravery.

No balance, no chance
Tom, Drifting to the neggie side.

Oh England of old, how we have missed you…
Alex, south London 

I have to laugh when I hear pundits asking what is wrong with England.

1. Took an one injury prone left back who hasn’t played since February and looks like he won’t play any part in the competition.

2. Has a right back playing left back.

3. Plays a new midfield partnership.

4. Plays a right back who has played as midfielder maybe handful of time in midfield

5. Has one of the best no. 10 in PL as a left winger.

It’s quite simple what to do. Play Rice and Bellingham together, play Foden as 10 and play two of Saka, Palmer, Bowen and Ekke as wide players.
Ken

What the hell was that? Absolutely awful. What have they been doing for the last four weeks? Somebody needs a massive kick up the arse if that’s supposed to be a game plan – score, then sit back and try to hold on for an hour whilst giving the ball away and not being able to string two passes together.

Slow, timid, clueless. What a waste of talent.
Bladey Mick

Conte’s Tottenham
1. Kane scores a goal
2. Kane spends the rest of the match dropping deep due to an overly defensive midfield and to help defend
3. Spend the rest of the match set up deep to defend that lone goal
4. Concede an equalizer

It’s clear that Gareth has modeled the team on Conte’s Tottenham.
Eric B in NYC.

Garethed
The management team will be content with that.

England will want to win against Slovenia to top the group but, if my maths are correct, a draw will mean first or second.

Can we expect some players to be rested? Saka, Walker, Jude and perhaps Trippier. This could mean Konsa and Gomez at the back, Mainoo or Eze in Jude’s place and Bowen to rest Saka.

What are the benefits of finishing second instead of first? Avoiding Austria/Holland/France perhaps?

After 50 minutes, I have to say, I was thinking 1-1 as I knew Southgate and his coaches would be happy with that. I’d guess another 1-0 v Slovenia. It’s a little like Terry Neil’s Arsenal.

Apart from a wonder strike , the defence can be content with another decent days work.
Peter ( looking forward to a hum-dinger Spain v Italy ) Andalucia.

Half-time thoughts
Dear Editor,

I am writing this at half time. We were 1-0 up and where does Saka pop up? That’s right- in the DM slot. We’ll reap what we sow and when we go out in the knockout we won’t go out on penalties – it’ll be a 4-0 mauling from a team lead by a coach with a pair of solid stones.

Also – Kane will play every minute – regardless but Watkins would school those centre halves.

Best
Darren Whitehouse

 

Thank you, Erik ten Hag
As a youngster I was brought up on the idea that club football prepares you for international football. I can safely say that the last few seasons of watching Man Utd prepared me perfect for watching England tonight…
Bill Handley, Gloucester

I know everyone will castigate Southgate on the back of that performance and those subs, but can we all pause for one moment to acknowledge how he has single-handedly brought together the entire Man Utd fan base as #TenHagIn
Niraj (not sure what to expect next) Tampa

United had a lucky escape for once.
Paul

ITV > BBC
Anyone else think the BBC punditry team (excluding Thomas Frank) performed worse than the football team tonight?

– Micah and Rio always talking over each over.
– Thomas Frank constantly being interrupted.
– Gary Lineker abandoning his hosting duties to become a pundit again.
– Giving minimal credit to the Denmark performance.- General soundbite punditry you would get down your local boozer instead of insightful analysis.

We’re going out to the first decent team again.
Nick, Southampton

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