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Has anybody changed their mind about Southgate?

Yorkfox

Season Ticket Holder
I still have him down as a thoroughly decent human being but not up to the job for which he is paid. A very lucky general but not lucky enough to compensate for his tactical ineptitude, bizarre selection strategy and inability to properly utilize what must have been one of if not the best squads in the tournament.
 
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Brauny

Golden balls
Perhaps I've got it horribly wrong, but I couldn't see why Mount was such a shoe-in. Certainly touted as being a top talent, but didn't set this tournament alight imo.
I criticized GS a few weeks ago when we were extremely dull in pre Euro friendlies .
I think he deserves credit though for getting a team together and having 2 good tournaments, he has certainly not shyed away from calling up bright young talent.
The criticisms for me though is that he can't shake off his cautious approach.
If Grealish was fit, then it's a travesty that he was so under used. Foden as well. These are the best creative talents we have got, but they are not being utilised when they just get brief substitute appearances
 

Scoops

Season Ticket Holder
Seems a Decent fella but he’s not a winner

Life’s made up of winners and losers and Gareth isn’t a winner unfortunately.

Now that Roberto fella ……..
 

Sammy George

Season Ticket Holder
He suits the FA down to the ground. Articulate, well dressed, never going to cause a problem. Unfortunately he is a useless football manager who somehow, unlike previous better managers that we had, is given a very easy time by the media
 

Oadlad

Season Ticket Holder
Jury out for me.
I'm beginning to suspect that he has doubts about his own ability. Hence his cautious approach to everything.
And his suspician of creatives like Grealish who might actually stray from the strict game plans he imposes because he (JG) has the abilty to read a game and adjust to it. The team plays without flair and risk because he manages that way, after all that would entail some degree of trusting the players on the pitch.
yhen we took the lead on Sundat we saw players like Rice take their shackles off and surge forward. GS stopped all that nonsense at half time.
I don't know if he is a yesman but I sense that he likes a team full of them.
I watched a clip of us playing Villa couple of years ago (4-0). When we won possession we drove forward at pace, in numbers, defenders were caught back peddling. This is rare for England who tend to give opponents time to take up position.
Go on Gareth, inspire us, try some adventure, get the crowd going
 

Sohofox

Season Ticket Holder
He won't be binned.
Stories in papers that the caant is going to get a knighthood come January.
Its become a sick joke.
 

DagenhamFox

Blue Roofer
I agree totally with most of these comments but I don’t think he’ll walk away now and he won’t be sacked not with the World Cup next year. He has made progress but his negativity on the pitch does grate with me.
 

Daz40

Season Ticket Holder
I still have him down as a thoroughly decent human being but not up to the job for which he is paid. A very lucky general but not lucky enough to compensate for his tactical ineptitude, bizarre selection strategy and inability to properly utilize what must have been one of if not the best squads in the tournament.
Quarter final, two semi finals and a final speak for themselves. He's doing a grand job.
 

Daz40

Season Ticket Holder
Poor club manager, FA like him as hes a yes man, will struggle in the World Cup unless we get a favourable draw like in the euros
You don't have to be a good club manager to be a good international manager. A lot of the great international managers have never been club managers. What do you mean by being a yes man, if that means being civil to your employer then I can't see a problem.
 

2 Pints of Lager

Season Ticket Holder
You don't have to be a good club manager to be a good international manager. A lot of the great international managers have never been club managers. What do you mean by being a yes man, if that means being civil to your employer then I can't see a problem.
True you dont have to be a good club manager to be a international manager in the same way you dont have to have been an ex player to manage a football club, but it helps, it would also help if you were successful at club level. As a yes man, he does as hes told looks immaculate , says what they want to here, hes a bit like an English Claud, he said when he came in he wouldn't pick players that were no regular players at there clubs, also players out off form but he has. At the end of the day theirs no point in us moaning as it looks like the FA are going to give him a new contract
 

Oadlad

Season Ticket Holder
I read today that he is having a rest before deciding his future.
The question for me is: would GS at some point in the future shed his current approach and give us a team which gets the blood racing or is he the going to be the permanent prisoner of his own personality?
Yes, he is responsible for an ongoing FA programme of rebuilding us as a serious player at international level but at some point surely it will pass beyond the present stage before we all doze off?
Mancini revitalised Italy in three years but admittedly started from a higher point.
 

Adumass

Bentleys Roofer
Partially agree with daz, partially agree with others.

Yes he's cautious, frustratingly so. But is that down to his nature, or because he identifies our weaknesses in defence - i'm not sure.
And yes he does have an aversion to the maverick (although i'm not entirely convinced grealish is the great saviour he's being built up as).

But on the flip side, he's by far the most successful manager we've had in my lifetime. For all the criticism, he didn't lose the game on sunday in normal time. He took the stand-out team of the tournament - who had beaten belgium and spain (and wales!) - all the way to penalties.

And we've previously tried the greatest club managers in europe (who had the benefit of the supposed greatest generation of players) and they've all been shit - i don't want to go back to that. I'll happily stick with him for the world cup, and see if he's learned lessons to go that final step.
 

Oadlad

Season Ticket Holder
Yes, it's worth asking would any one else have got us to the Final? Like most fans, I suspect, I found it difficult to reconcile the sterility with the results.
And did the frustration of losing stem from our timidity or that it was that we missed out by allowing the favourites to get off the ropes?
As results last longer in the memory (and record books) GS must be given some credit and offered the chance to finish the job. Which seems to be the case anyway...
 

Burnmoorstreet

Groundsman
I am in the camp that he has been very lucky to have players at his disposal and did well in the last tournaments however he showed then in the semifinals the inability to make managerial changes during the game to effect the outcome simply too negative. For the penalties you have to assume they practice before every game and they know who the 5 takers will be before it starts. Surely if they practice and Rashford does what he actually did on Sunday the manager would pull him aside and say look I don’t think that’s a good idea to take a penalty like that. I won’t blame Rashford I blame the manager and coaching staff for allowing him to take a penalty. Cost us the shoot out no matter what anyone says it put the following kids under far more pressure.
 

Daz40

Season Ticket Holder
I am in the camp that he has been very lucky to have players at his disposal and did well in the last tournaments however he showed then in the semifinals the inability to make managerial changes during the game to effect the outcome simply too negative. For the penalties you have to assume they practice before every game and they know who the 5 takers will be before it starts. Surely if they practice and Rashford does what he actually did on Sunday the manager would pull him aside and say look I don’t think that’s a good idea to take a penalty like that. I won’t blame Rashford I blame the manager and coaching staff for allowing him to take a penalty. Cost us the shoot out no matter what anyone says it put the following kids under far more pressure.
Rashford takes penalties like that for Man Utd (before Fernandes got the gig)
 

shanetko

Season Ticket Holder
Reminds me of Pearson.. tactical naivety and inflexibility.
I’m sure he’s a nice bloke but he’s not a winner. (edit - obviously there’s no implication from me that Pearson is a nice bloke 😄)
Imagine not picking Grealish that’s just mind blowing to me.
I don’t blame him for penalties I blame him for cowardly tactics in regulation time. Trying to cling on for dear life against a team with 2 pensioners at the back when you think of the attacking options we have.
Two absolute dream runs of opponents. This time we had pretty much the whole tournament at home. Will never get a better chance. Undoubtedly the future is bright England have loads of attacking talent but it’ll go to waste if Southgate carries on in my opinion.
 

DagenhamFox

Blue Roofer
News from this morning is Rashford has a shoulder injury that needs surgery.

He said “I've had a difficult season, I think that's been clear for everyone to see and I probably went into that final with a lack of confidence."

If he went into the final with a lack of confidence why is Southgate bringing him off the bench to take a crucial penalty in the final? Shocking.
 

swabianfox

Rare Continental Breed
This makes Rashford's selection even more baffling. The lack of form was clear to see.

What hasn't been mentioned yet though is that Rashford was also brought on in extra time vs. Colombia three years ago (after 113 min). He duly converted his penalty then, and England won the shootout. So there are also factors that make Southgate's decision at least partially understandable.
 

Daz40

Season Ticket Holder
What I want to know is one of our most senior pros in Sterling was nowhere to be seen for penalties.
 

Wessy Boy

Season Ticket Holder
Sterling's penalty record is poor.

He has a 40 per cent conversion rate from regular play and while he scored his only England penalty in a shootout, he has missed two of his three in them for Manchester City.
 

swabianfox

Rare Continental Breed
I read a few times that a) Southgate made the decision so it didn't matter whatever Sterling did or didn't do prior to the shootout, and b) he wasn't considered a good penalty taker by many, including Southgate I presume.

Edit: Wessy Boy was quicker than me, my post is a reply to Daz.
 

DagenhamFox

Blue Roofer
That may be so Wessy but he has big game experience, more so than Saka and to a lesser extent Sancho.

What’s done is done though.
 

Adumass

Bentleys Roofer
some context from The Athletci about the penalty selections....


Ten key questions answered about England’s penalty shootout heartbreak at Euro 2020​


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By Oliver Kay, Jack Pitt-Brooke and more Jul 13, 2021
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So it happened again. England suffered penalties heartbreak at a major tournament, only this time it was in the final of Euro 2020 and the pain was so much greater.
In the fallout from Sunday’s 3-2 shootout defeat by Italy at Wembley, manager Gareth Southgate has been criticised for his choice of penalty takers, the order in which they took them, his decision to only introduce two of the five (both of whom missed) from the bench in the last seconds of extra time and much more besides.
The Athletic tries to answer the key questions the end of the European Championship final threw up, including why, after years of the FA researching penalties, the ending was all so familiar.

How did Southgate decide the order?
Southgate said after the game that he decided the order based on how players had performed on penalties in training, along with what they have done for their clubs. “That’s the process we followed in Russia (in beating Colombia on penalties at the 2018 World Cup) and Nations League (a shootout win over Switzerland in 2019) — but tonight it didn’t work,” he said.
Quite simply, Southgate believed the five players he picked — Harry Kane, Harry Maguire, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka — were “the best takers we had left on the pitch”.
England, Euro 2020, Gareth Southgate



England in the huddle before the penalty shootout (Photo: Facundo Arrizabalaga/Pool/ AFP)

What say did the players have in it?
None, according to both Southgate and Jack Grealish. “What they have to know is that none of them are on their own; we win and lose as a team, and the takers are my call,” Southgate said. “We’ve worked on them in training. My decision. Not down to the players.”
Aston Villa captain Grealish confirmed that in a tweet he sent responding to criticism of him by Roy Keane, part of ITV’s punditry team for the final, for not taking one ahead of the less-experienced teenager Saka. Grealish tweeted on Monday: “I said I wanted to take one!!!! The gaffer has made so many right decisions through this tournament and he did tonight! But I won’t have people say that I didn’t want to take a peno when I said I will…”

Why didn’t Grealish get to take one?
Grealish and Southgate have a complicated relationship but it is understood the boss and his coaching team were aware that he would be willing to take a penalty if any of the knockout games went to a shootout.
The logical conclusion is that Grealish isn’t considered as good a penalty taker as Saka and the other four who took one by Southgate, based on the studies of his efforts in training, where assistant coach Steve Holland keeps a league table, and for his club.
Grealish has only ever taken two penalties for Villa, scoring in the play-off semi-final shootout win over West Bromwich Albion in May 2019 and hitting the crossbar in a Premier League match against Sheffield United in December of the same year.
As captain, Grealish was Villa’s designated penalty-taker for a period but he would often pick up the ball and ask the team’s strikers if they wanted to have a crack, knowing a goal could boost their confidence.
He allowed Ollie Watkins to take one against West Ham in November but the forward missed and Villa lost 2-1. The following month, he offered Anwar El Ghazi the chance to take a stoppage-time penalty, which he scored to beat Wolves. El Ghazi has been Villa’s penalty-taker ever since.

Who were the other possible takers?
Southgate said his choices had been limited by “two we had taken off earlier in the game”. He is likely speaking about Kieran Trippier, the Atletico Madrid full-back who is one of England’s dead-ball specialists, and Mason Mount, the Chelsea midfielder.
Declan Rice, who has scored one and missed one penalty for West Ham, had also been withdrawn.
In the final minutes of extra time, Southgate removed Kyle Walker, the Manchester City full-back, and Jordan Henderson, the Liverpool captain who had taken and missed a penalty in the warm-up games. He replaced them with Rashford and Sancho in order to get who he considered he better takers onto the pitch.
Footage of Southgate talking to his players before the shootout appears to give clues to who would have followed Saka if the shootout had continued, with goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, Kalvin Phillips, Grealish and Luke Shaw all seemingly spoken to, which would have left John Stones and Raheem Sterling as England’s final takers before starting again, presumably with Kane, if it had gone that far.
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Pickford scored for England in the shootout against Switzerland in the UEFA Nations League third-place playoff in 2019
Whether or not that was a true reflection of Southgate’s thinking, only Sterling and Grealish of England’s remaining forward players were not part of those first five, which backs up the manager’s view that he had picked the best takers and perhaps explains why he was so keen to get Rashford and Sancho on just for the shootout.

Statistically, who were the best penalty takers in the squad?
Kane is England’s most successful penalty-taker, scoring 10 of the 13 he has taken in regular play and the two he has taken in shootouts, so was a natural first-choice as taker (especially given England’s strategy of how to order a shootout, as we shall explain in a moment). The Tottenham Hotspur striker’s record at club level is also very good: 32 from 36 in regular play, two from two in shootouts.
Maguire was next up, and while he has never scored a penalty in a match, his shootout record is perfect: one from one in club football (for the Manchester United centre-back’s previous side, Leicester City), two from two for England. His finish, smashing the ball into the camera positioned high up in the goal, suggested he was pretty confident too.
Next came Rashford, and this is where the data abandoned England. The Manchester United forward had a 100 per cent penalty record with England (three from three in normal time, one from one in shootouts) and a very good one at club level (nine from 11 in normal time, one from one in shootouts). This was his first England miss, hitting the post as goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma dove the other way.
Sancho, who went fourth and had his shot saved, was the other substitute sent on specifically to take a penalty and he had scored three penalties from three for Borussia Dortmund. Saka has not taken a penalty in his short senior career, so the conclusion would be that the ones he took in training were particularly impressive (though The Telegraph reported his record was “mixed”) or that the records and training efforts of the other options left on the field were not.
sancho-southgate



Southgate consoles Jadon Sancho after his penalty miss (Photo: Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images)
Of those players, Grealish’s record, as explained above, is one from one in shootouts and none from one in open play, Shaw and Stones have each scored their only penalty for their clubs in shootouts, Phillips has scored two of his three in club shootouts and Pickford scored his only penalty in an international one. All of which suggests England had alternative competent options but not that there was a standout taker in reserve who Southgate overlooked.
The final option was Sterling, whose penalty record is poor.
He has a 40 per cent conversion rate from regular play and while he scored his only England penalty in a shootout, he has missed two of his three in them for Manchester City.

But why was 19-year-old Saka in the pressure position?
ITV pundit Keane was among those to criticise the choice of Saka as England’s fifth, and he felt, crucial penalty taker.
“If you’re Sterling or Grealish, you cannot sit there and have a young kid walk up ahead of you,” the former Manchester United and Republic of Ireland captain and Sunderland manager said (this is the comment Grealish responded to on Twitter). “You can’t sit there and see a young kid — 19, a child — walk up in front of me when I’ve played a lot more games, and got a lot more experience.”
While Sterling and Grealish were probably not the answer, there is one school of thought that a side’s best takers should go later in the sequence of five penalties, when it is more likely to be do or die.
However, one of the findings from an FA study commissioned by Southgate was that the optimal order for penalty takers was not to backload them but to put your best takers first. England’s order against Italy certainly reflects that thinking.
Kane, their strongest taker, went first, then came Maguire’s thunderous effort, followed by Rashford and Sancho, whose records had been excellent. It did not have to be Saka but, whoever Southgate picked at five, it was not going to be one of his very best takers.

Does Rashford usually do that run-up?
Yes. Rashford used the same run-up technique in his last shootout, for Manchester United in the Europa League final defeat by Villarreal seven weeks ago. Rashford took United’s fourth penalty that night and, again, the opposition went first in each pair of kicks. He walked back, hopped to the left, ran forward, slowed down into the little steps and struck the ball firmly into (for him) the left corner.
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Rashford, with the same technique, scores for United against Villarreal (Photo: Aleksandra Szmigiel – Pool/Getty Images)
Against Italy, Rashford went the same way but the strike was not as clean and he instead hit the post with the net gaping as the goalkeeper, as in the Villarreal game, having already dived the opposite way. One suggestion is that Donnarumma’s huge reach — he is 6ft 5in — made Rashford try to aim even further into the corner and he dragged it a couple of inches too wide.
Rashford has used the same technique for England before too, against Holland, Belgium and Romania, scoring all three penalties while sending the goalkeeper the wrong way. One player described him as being “unbelievable” at penalty taking and that he hadn’t missed once in England training during this tournament. The run-up he used in the final was also the one he used in those practice shootouts.
So that slightly strange run-up has worked before. Just not when it mattered the most.
In a powerful statement released after the game, Rashford wrote: “I’ve always backed myself for a penalty but something didn’t feel quite right. During the long run-up I was saving myself a bit of time and unfortunately the result was not what I wanted.
“I felt as though I had let my team-mates down. I felt as if I’d let everyone down. A penalty was all I’d been asked to contribute for the team. I can score penalties in my sleep so why not that one? It’s been playing in my head over and over since I struck the ball and there’s probably not a word to quite describe how it feels. Final. 55 years. One penalty. History. All I can say is, ‘Sorry’.”

Why didn’t Sancho and Rashford come on earlier?
Because they were being brought on specifically to take penalties. If you’re sending on two forwards in place of a defender and a midfielder at 1-1 in extra time, it’s a risk. It’s an even bigger risk when you send them on while you’re defending a corner, as Southgate did, fearing he would run out of time if he left it any later.
England ended up with Rashford and Sterling in the wing-back positions, which looked chaotic in the final minute of extra time, but there was method to the madness. Southgate believed Rashford and Sancho were two of his most reliable penalty-takers, so they had to be on the pitch somewhere at the final whistle.
The players may have preferred to have been on sooner, given it would have allowed them more touches of the ball, while psychologically it may have been a boost to be sent on to try to win the game in extra time rather than solely with the pressure of taking a penalty.
In the end, Rashford had two touches — one a tackle while playing as a makeshift right-back, the other his penalty — and Sancho three, including his spot kick.

Does bringing specialist takers off the bench ever work?
In short, yes. As our Nick Miller explained in a mid-Euros study of penalties taken at World Cups, European Championships and finals of the Champions League and Europa League, players who have been on from the start had scored 73.7 per cent of the time, while those who have come on in extra time scored 79.2 per cent of the time.
The caveats are that the difference is not huge and neither is the sample size — 48 were by substitutes — but certainly Southgate believed it was a worthwhile approach. That both players he sent on failed to score on Sunday somewhat undermines the move but a look back at the alternative options suggests it was probably worth trying given Rashford and Sancho’s records.
England have done this before.
Jamie Carragher was sent on in the 119th minute by Sven-Goran Eriksson after impressing in training, only to miss as they lost to Portugal in the 2006 World Cup quarter-finals. Carragher said was told so late that he did not have time to mentally prepare — whether or not that was an issue this time round is unknown, but Rashford and Sancho were far more familiar with the task than he’d been 15 years ago. The problem simply was that they didn’t score.

Why didn’t England’s years of penalty research pay off?
The feeling among England’s backroom staff is that, for a long time, they had developed a competitive disadvantage around penalties. Roy Hodgson, England manager from 2012 to 2016, called it “a negative obsession”. Gradually, through research, analysis and a systematic approach to practice, they felt as if their players have overcome that psychological hurdle. Or at least they had.
Pickford saved Italy’s second and fifth penalties, from Andrea Belotti and Jorginho. Isn’t that a sign of research paying off? The problem is that Rashford hit the post with England’s third penalty and then Sancho and Saka had theirs saved.
Looking at it, you would say that nerves got to some of the players who missed. You can work meticulously on analysis, technique and breathing exercises to minimise that, but you can’t get rid of it entirely.
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England’s players look distraught at the end of the shootout (Photo: Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
The thing is, other teams practice penalties, too. Italy used to have a terrible record in shootouts — they were played four, lost four at one stage in their history — and they too have invested a huge amount of research, analysis and practice into reversing that. They had beaten Spain on penalties in the semi-final five days earlier on that same Wembley pitch and could draw on the memory of that, whereas it was new territory of some of England’s youngsters.
At the end of the day, only one team can win a shootout.
There was also one key element that was beyond England’s control.
In the research commissioned by Southgate and carried out by the FA’s analysts, England found that it is much better for a team to go first than second when a match goes to penalties, but captain Kane lost the coin toss and counterpart Giorgio Chiellini rightly opted for Italy to open the batting.
Previously at Euro 2020, every team who went first in a shootout had won it. Italy went first on Sunday, and won the tournament.
 

swabianfox

Rare Continental Breed
Well written. I find it hard to argue against the arguments in the article!

It still leaves a few questionmarks but they have become smaller.
 

swabianfox

Rare Continental Breed
I've just rewatched the highlights from the England-Colombia game 2018, in particular the penalty shootout.

Rashford was brought on after 113 minutes. He was the second penalty taker (link) (they got it wrong in these highlights), he took a similarly weirdly curved run-up (albeit not as protracted as in the Italy shootout), and he chose the left-hand (from his perspective) corner.

Not totally different! The major difference were the (I guess) 30 cm or so that the ball went further to the left against Italy! And it seems he wanted to do it a bit more precise and a bit less powerful. He tried to trick the Italian goalie (which worked) but then he got the actual shot wrong!
 
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