“The case against Klevinger was open and closed. The only thing missing was something to accuse him of. “
And so it is necessary to defend Gareth Southgate, jumping on the waves of anger, foresight and familiarity with the good old English exception. And in a way, all this is very convenient. Every England manager has two things in common. They all fail in the end; just because there is no healthy measure of success. And they all explain to us in their own way exactly why English managers fail.
Excuses can be given for England’s unsuccessful performance against a highly motivated Hungarian team on Tuesday night. But none of them are really washed. We can say that the staff is tired and exhausted. That is a fact but difficult does not mean impossible.
We can say that if the English fans had applauded the players for the last three quarters of the game instead of applauding them from time to time, the team could have been more encouraged. We can suggest that if the nation had celebrated Southgate for its unprecedented success over the past year, he could now be a better, more confident England manager, as opposed to constantly finding fault.
We can suggest that England supporters and some parts of the media become poisoned partners, act with malice, rejoice in every mistake, racistly insult the players for losing in the final of the tournament, and then think about why they fell a year later. .
However, none of this is really washed away. The manager’s task is to find solutions. The job is: problem solving, clarity, motivation. And Southgate knew what was to come, because Hungary was already crushing its rivals in Budapest. Harry Kane drowned again, and Attila Szalai spent most of the game grabbing the collar of Kane’s shirt as the striker owed him.
John Stones, on the other hand, was given a traumatic time by Adam Szalai, who enjoyed himself immensely. There is a statue of the great Billy Wright outside Molineux, described by Jeffrey Green as “from time immemorial” as “always a false flame like a fire truck” after he was stunned by Hungary at Wembley in 1953. But at least Wright is still on fire. Stones spent his time on the field at a number of unrelated events – calls, weddings, book presentations – while lighting a fire in the rearview mirror.
Again, this is not an excuse. There are bad defeats. Age of teams. Coaches lose understanding of the details. Special experience is required to build a second iteration of a successful team; To do this without silence or falling, this is an elite area. Southgate is not perfect. These things have a natural life. Who knows, maybe he will finish it after the World Cup.
But that’s not the point, is it? The most astonishing thing in the formation of England is not only this defeat, but also the intensity of the reaction that accompanied the previous victories, the cries of real anger.
If we look at the Golden Vest, the summer of love in Moscow and Kaliningrad, where Gareth briefly became a perfect man, it is surprising to think that the dominant note of his time with England could end as it does today: betrayal, hostility, dissent.
Terry Venables is the only manager who has somehow really gotten the job, as it has become another record of a never-ending story; tactics, formations, penalties and more than anything else, another governing body that gives us more information about the deep cultural deceptions of England and English football.
Here it is necessary to mention once again very simple facts. Southgate 50 has the best win ratio among any English manager to control a game. Southgate led England to two semi-finals in five years, after two semi-finals in the previous half-century. Southgate have lost two of their last 26 games. Southgate has also developed England players through age group levels, helped apply a style, made the team popular, showed confidence in the youth, brought golden moments and a splash of goals, and has always acted as a leader to be proud of. Does it still sound like it’s really about football?
But then, in England, not only the team, but also the English insularity, the English expectation has to handle a huge load. The founding personality of the English football team is based on a fundamental misconception that the standard choice is for England to win. And if that doesn’t happen, it’s a problem that needs to be solved, because something is fundamentally wrong in the universe.
There is a kind of Arthur element to this, just a deep, unexpressed assumption that the condition of being English is irresistible at the bottom. Properly managed, stone-free, unobstructed English should always prevail. We’ve seen it in visceral, exciting players like Wayne Rooney or Steven Gerrard, whose qualities often seemed “open” rather than temperamental or balanced. Disperse and slide the Albion dogs. They will meet us.
Thus, the success of other nations is always out of the norm. Thus, English failure is always bad and melodramatic. Thus, English success can never be enjoyed. The semifinal is a failure. The final is a missed chance. Yes, England is one of the two best teams in Europe. So why not the best? Who can be blamed for this?
It seemed foolish that Southgate could have killed this dark energy in 2018, and his modesty seemed very refreshing after Iceland’s trauma in Nice. But now it is clear that those qualities, arrogance, refusal to look away, the culture that we have nothing to learn from the Brazilians have risen to the level of expectations around this attentive, pragmatic team.
Like no one in the recent history of international football, he is terrified of not being able to destroy everyone in front of him by playing attacking football without borders. There are misconceptions disguised as analysis. Before last week’s game against Germany, a former player was heard expressing confidence that he was a better “man for a man” than the nine-time Champions League winners in Germany’s team.
Most likely, it is in the first wave of victory in Southgate’s alpha-nic culture, in the most intelligent, wonderful generation of England, and in finding an English team that is not irritated by its nationality. We are the most humble! We will be happy to present it to you!
When Southgate took office, he took advantage of this promotion. Since then, the failure to build a second team, especially to improve the attack, has been a mistake to mask Harry Kane and, to a lesser extent, Raheem Sterling, the weakness of the central midfield, the weakness of the central parts. sink into a comprehensive defense. Are we going to take a clear look at any of these? Success brought something else, a resurgence of the crack of English insularism; now turned into storms of rage threatening to destroy the transition team.
The disappointment is that there are real flaws and wrong steps, details that are lost in the wider hysteria. For example, the common view that Britain has a product of talent that the rest of Europe will envy is clearly a wild extreme, blurring the lines of what is possible. On Tuesday night, there was talk of not being able to form a team around Phil Foden, of being able to “dominate European football”, of being a ridiculous burden on England’s best young player, the 22-year-old who has yet to find his game.
As for the idea, Trent Alexander-Arnold is undoubtedly a way not to win difficult games in the final round, which tends to be solved in two words: Vinícius and Júnior. Alexander-Arnold is a brilliant creative defender. But England can’t play like Liverpool and Kyle Walker is still a better bet for this team.
So why doesn’t Britain just attack? Why don’t they pour it forward? Why don’t they beat their rivals? The obvious answer is that no one plays like that in cautious international football. Didier Deschamps won the World Cup five years ago by refusing to remove the handbrake and with a better team.
A more real critique of the criticism is that Southgate is unable to develop and develop the team. Opponents learned to defend against England, to sit deep, to attack their defensive weaknesses at the break. England were also wooden and well behaved in high-stakes one-off games, often with their midfield squashed. But then, these games are often won by the best midfielders, and England are light here. Is it tempting to ask who to choose as Southgate? Bernardo Silva? Fabinho? N’Qolo Kante?
Mark the top six in the Premier League and Jordan Henderson is the only English center-half. This is a cultural issue that Southgate is trying to address by assembling the back line. Probably the biggest mistake of the last 12 days was to move away from this successful defense system by surrendering to the noise.
There are limits to the activities of any head coach. Now it will be necessary to plan the succession and have a frank discussion with employers about whether they feel they can build another team here. Meanwhile, it is clear that Southgate and his players deserve better than being loaded with bile; and to realize the idea that he deserves to be fired means to enter the waves of anger, populism, and digital herd thinking.
Even the rage inside the stadium after a really disappointing night in Wolverhampton gave us more information about the current state of England, the miserable, delicate place, the purple of the post-imperial lands filled with purple, the state that cried for her. the golden ticket is more about Southgate’s successful attempts to bring this moth-eating old circus to its heels.