What Next For England?

After a week long hiatus, I am back to discuss the latest England performances. Is Southgate the man to turn England’s fortunes around?

After a draw with Scotland on Saturday in their World Cup qualifier, England then suffered a friendly defeat to 10 man France on Tuesday night. During the Scotland game, it looked like England would be heading for defeat. Two Leigh Griffiths free-kicks in quick succession, looked to have won the game for Scotland. On both occasions, Joe Hart’s positioning was questionable, Hart needs to regain some confidence, if he is to head to the World Cup as England’s number one. England had Harry Kane to thank for snatching a point from the jaws of defeat, as the England captain volleyed home in the last minute.

England then travelled to France for a friendly. France who have an array of talent to call upon, came out on top in a 3-2 victory. England, who were playing against 10 men for much of the second half, really should have taken advantage. England’s play was slow and sluggish at times, sadly a norm to any avid England supporter.

Southgate maybe England’s new manager, however there was nothing new about England’s displays over the last two games. Southgate has made some big decisions during his short time as England manager, the omission of Wayne Rooney being one. Southgate was England’s only real choice, after the Sam Allardyce saga. The England manager, must be prepared to make brave decisions when he selects his squad for the World Cup, providing they qualify of course. Previous England managers have always picked the big names, even when they have been out of form. England need a new direction, picking players on reputation has never worked, and never will work.

The expectation levels have dropped in recent years, after a long period of disappointing tournament displays. The defeat to Iceland in the Euro’s last summer, should have been a wake up call to the England camp. It is not the lack of quality that hampers England, it is the distinct lack of heart and passion in their displays. Playing for England used to be a real honour, now it seems like a chore to a lot of the players. If the senior side are to win a tournament, they need to not only show their quality, but a sense of togetherness and a pride and passion in the shirt.

This is a testing time for England, the players need to start showing a desire to win for their country. Wayne Rooney gets a lot of criticism, but nobody can deny his pride in pulling on an England shirt, or the passion he shows on the pitch. England need a squad full of players with the same attitude as England’s all time leading scorer. Can we really afford to go into another major tournament, with a distinct lack of belief?

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