Friday, December 13, 2019

Southgate’s outlook on youth is paying off for England

David Nugent in Editorial, General Soccer News 16 Oct 2018

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I have to admit I was not impressed by the appointment of Gareth Southgate as England boss. I believe I called the former Middlesbrough boss ‘Mr Beige’ at the time of his appointment. Like many, I thought he was a safe appointment by the FA, as they chose a yes man for the job. However, Southgate has pleasantly surprised everybody with his performance in the job.

An impressive display in Seville

I wrote an article yesterday on how the England boss is right to blood the youngsters in the Nations League. On Monday night, his approach to selecting youngsters paid off handsomely.

The Three Lions produced the best result and display of Southgate’s reign, as his team recorded an impressive 3-2 win against Spain in Seville.

England raced into a three-goal lead before half time. Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling finally found his scoring boots for the national team scoring twice, either side of a Marcus Rashford goal.

The Three Lions were truly ruthless in front of goal, something that has been missing from England teams in recent years. Sterling, who has struggled to find his form on the international stage, was clinical.

It was an all-around impressive display, with a number of positives, not just the teams attacking play. The team kept their shape very well against a Spain side that very rarely lose, especially on home soil.

Southgate has reinvigorated the team

Under previous bosses, the England team looked like they were going through the motions. Some of the older players looked like they did not want to be there and did not want to injure themselves.

However, in the last year or so there has been a different atmosphere and buzz around the England team. It has no longer been a chore to watch the team play games. We are no longer just going through the motions.

The players on the field look like they are hungry and happy representing their country. The younger players seem to have none of the baggage of previous failures either. If they do suffer defeat, they seem to learn from it and move on.

Southgate’s calm personality helps keep the players grounded, win, lose or draw. I must apologise to Mr Southgate for calling him Mr Beige. There is far more to him than meets the eye.

In the former Middlesbrough boss, we might finally have an England boss with the ability to create a winning team. He has certainly transformed the atmosphere around the England camp for the better that is for sure. There is a far more positive outlook on the team.

England team are still young

When you look at England’s front three on Monday night, Harry Kane is 25, Raheem Sterling is 23 and Marcus Rashford is just 20. Then you have the likes of Jadon Sancho in the squad at 18 and you realise that this England squad is still a young one.

Southgate’s fearless approach to fielding youngsters has no doubt been one of the keys to reviving the England national team’s fortunes. For too long, England bosses had played it safe and picked the same tired old names.

The current Three Lions boss had the courage to change things around and I hope it will yield rewards in the near future for the national team. England are odds of 14/1 to win the Nations League.

In reality, winning the Nations League was not important. The important factor in the three games so far in the competition for the Three Lions was the young players gaining valuable experience of playing against quality opposition.

The players who appeared in Monday night’s victory will have gained a lot of confidence from the win. That can only be good for the future of the England national team, as it looks far rosier now than it did after that embarrassing Euro 2016 exit against Iceland.

Can Gareth Southgate lead England to international glory in the near future?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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