Iain Duncan Smith.
As Gareth Southgate looked on befuddled at his first choice XI being so inept before making bizarre changes that made things worse.
It’s interesting to compare and contrast the two managers in the France vs England friendly that took place in Paris.
In the home dugout Didier Deschamps – yeah forget what Cantona said about “water carrier” – a player who as captain lifted the World Cup and European Championship for France, won the European Cup with Marseilles and Juventus, along with five league championships. Adding in a few cups as manager.
On the other side we have Gareth Southgate, who fucked up his big chance for England, appeared in a pizza advert and led Middlesbrough to relegation.
Deschamps may not be that great a manager but I bet he gets more respect from his players than the drip Southgate.
Throughout the second half, after Varane’s red card, Glenn Hoddle kept lamenting that it didn’t look like France were down to ten men. He overlooked the fact that in the first half England were down to 9 men, which was reduced to 8 for most of the second half before Southgate reduced it further with a quarter of an hour to go.
Sterling and Oxlade-Chamberlain, were down on the team sheet as England starters. The latter didn’t bother to turn up at all, while the former looked to be playing for the hosts.
Oh the eulogies for Sterling for his back heel in the build up the Kane’s opener. Wow, he managed to kick a ball a couple of feet into someone’s path. Well, yes he managed that a number of times, though most of the time it was to a French player. He almost buggered up this opportunity, from Dele’s excellent cross. The rest of the attacks he was involved in he butchered.
From Trippier’s beautiful first time ball over the top and Sterling dithers. Chance to play in Dele, Sterling dithers and plays the ball to far away from Alli. Any and all quick breaks, Sterling dithers then runs into a defender and just coughs the ball up with ease.
With that stupid running style of his, that stupid Dwayne Dibbley gurn, with his dithering and not just a lack of a footballing brain but a brain full stop, he makes watching England a chore.
As said Oxlade-Chamberlain never turned up. Hoddle kept moaning about Dier being ahead of him in the middle of the park. Well Dier had to go forward or nobody would have.
And then at half-time, Southgate introduces Walker… why? To give Bertrand a rest, is that it. You take off one of the only decent players and stick someone on who is not that good in his actual position, out of position. So down to 8 men. Then with 15 to go Southgate takes off probably the best player on the night for England, Trippier, for Lallana who promptly disappears, while the resulting change in formation buggers everything up.
It wasn’t the formation that was failing it was the players and the players being told they have to play a certain way. They are not up to playing out from the back, it just invites trouble, which is makes itself at home. Jones made some good tackles but do you trust him and Cahill with the ball at their feet. Stones joins them in being an accident waiting to happen and when he did come out with the ball he did everything so slowly it rendered the “attack” meaningless.
There’s just far too many passes back to the defence and too many passes between the defenders. Jones, Smalling, Cahill, Walker, Stones, they’re just not capable of playing that game.
The only good thing about the back three Southgate fielded in this game was that they were so slow that they couldn’t play Mbappe onside.
Once again the opening goal showed the danger of getting an early cross in from closeish to the byline and once again did we see it again after it worked? No.
In the second half with Walker cutting inside and Sterling running into trouble inside, there was no overlaps, though against 10 men and with plenty of space out wide there was plenty of opportunities.
Trippier did well on the other side after a nervy start, where he looked overawed and kept passing the ball back. But he just never got the quick ball, in space required, aimless lofted balls from the other side of the pitch, so long in the air that the defender is right on him are no good, they weren’t when pundits oozed over Gerrard and Beckham doing ’em they still aren’t.
Kane took his opener well, nice move off the defender. Took his penalty well also, Hugo will have seen most of his for club, expecting the usual one side or the other it was smart of Kane to go down the middle.
Heaton made some good saves, just his bad luck that they went back out straight to a French player, who should have been marked but was all alone in the box. Butland looked comfortable in the second half, no real chance with the goal.
The video ref got the call right to give the red card, Varane wasn’t attempting to play the ball when he clipped Dele, the ref right to point at the spot no matter the complaints of Pogba et al.
You should beat Scotland, not just scrape a draw, you shouldn’t lose to a side down to 10 men for a whole half, even in a friendly.
But Southgate showed again he’s not up to the job and unfortunately he’s such a goody-goody drip of a dullard he won’t be filmed by a tabloid this summer doing something to get him the sack.
So England will head through the qualifiers unbeaten and then be turned over by the first decent side they meet in the World Cup, I see Iceland are currently second in their group…