How Southgate’s courage and communication transformed England – Sports


AFP

London, United Kingdom ●
Tue 23 November 2021

2021-11-23
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Five years after being plunged into the deep end to tackle the chaos engulfing England, Gareth Southgate extended his tenure at the head of a moving team on Monday.

Southgate was rewarded with a contract extension until the end of 2024 after leading the Three Lions to a first major tournament final in 55 years at Euro 2020, three years after a first World Cup semi-final since 1990 .

Originally appointed on an interim basis, Southgate was seen as the flawless role model the Football Association needed after his predecessor, Sam Allardyce, was knocked down by a newspaper claiming to have offered advice on how to ‘get around’ the player’s rules. transfers.

A three-year stint at Middlesbrough, which ended in relegation from the Premier League, and mixed results with England’s Under-21s was all Southgate had to offer on his coaching resume when ‘He’s been nominated.

However, his calm presence proved to be the perfect fit for a generation of richly talented players who have made England a force to be reckoned with at international level once again.

AFP Sport takes a look at how the 51-year-old has transformed his country’s fortunes.

Courage

For decades, England managers have given in to the will of the media and fans to cram the most talented individuals into the starting lineup, even at the expense of the overall team structure.

Paul Scholes retired from international football after years spent out of position on the left wing to make room for Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard as the “golden generation” who failed to make it past the quarterfinals. major tournament final under the direction of Sven-Goran Eriksson, who was in charge from 2001 to 2006.

In contrast, Southgate were happy to leave an abundance of attacking talent on the bench.

With captain Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling his tried and trusted pair up front, opportunities for Bukayo Saka, Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford were limited during the Postponed Euros held earlier this year.

A crowd favorite, substitute Grealish even had to endure the ignominy of being substituted after just 36 minutes of action as England made adjustments to see their overtime victory over Denmark in the semi-final.

“There is a bad side to Gareth and he was on hand to do it,” former England captain Alan Shearer said.

Master communicator

Southgate has been the perfect leader for a socially conscious team that doesn’t just let their football do the talking.

During his reign, English players faced racial abuse in Montenegro and Bulgaria.

They started the tournament by being booed by sections of their own fans for kneeling in protest against racial injustice.

“The most important thing for our players is to know that we are totally united on this, we are totally committed to supporting each other,” Southgate said at the time, resisting complaints from leading politicians on the issue. “policy of gestures”.

This moral position will be in the spotlight in the coming year, given the concerns expressed by human rights groups regarding the hosting of the World Cup in Qatar.

“We’ll take the time to find out,” Southgate said after the seals qualified last week. “If we think there are areas that we can highlight and help, then clearly we’ve always tried to do it, and we would.”

Tactical flexibility

Southgate’s tactical sense has always been questioned, but he has shown a willingness to adapt to what is needed to win.

In Russia three years ago, the move to a five-man defender has protected an inexperienced keeper and defense.

Since then he has used a 4-3-3 extensively to make the most of the wealth of offensive options available to him.

But he was also prepared to come back on the last five if necessary to push his wingers forward wisely.

The selection of a 5-3-2 for the Euro 2020 final quickly paid off when a winger, Kieran Tripper, crossed for another, Luke Shaw, to give England a perfect start from the second minute.

All that remains for Southgate to prove is that he can go one step further in England’s long-awaited major tournament victory.


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