The bigger picture paints Gareth Southgate in a good light as England manager. The 52-year-old is already the second most successful Three Lions boss after Sir Alf Ramsey guided his side to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals followed by the Euro 2020 final. And yet, the immediate outlook isn’t so kind to Southgate.
England enter the 2022 World Cup amid a cloud of criticism. Recent defeats to Hungary and Italy have raised questions about the team under Southgate’s management. Indeed, England appear to have suffered a regression since taking part in the Euro 2020 final a year and a half ago. They must restore confidence in Qatar.
Southgate has undoubtedly improved England as a team during his tenure. Expectations were low when he took over in 2016. England had grown accustomed to failing to impress at major tournaments after losing to Iceland in the Euro 2016 round of 16.
Today, England are widely regarded as one of the strongest teams internationally. This is, however, why so many fans are nervous at the start of the 2022 World Cup. This should be a golden opportunity for England to end their long wait to become world champions again and instead they won’t. has no momentum.
A tight base has made England difficult to beat at major tournaments, but some supporters believe Southgate should do more to exploit the attacking talent at their disposal. It is certainly true that England currently have a range of excellent strikers, but Southgate continue to take a conservative approach.
England may have to abandon this conservative approach to break Iran, USA and Wales into their group at the 2022 World Cup. Southgate’s side will have to be the aggressors. They’ll have to find their way through low defensive blocks, something England haven’t always excelled at lately.
“I think it’s crazy talk because what he’s done in the last two tournaments, people’s perception changes so quickly,” England defender Eric Dier said of Southgate, defending his manager from criticism. before the start of the 2022 World Cup. “You have to remember what England were doing before.
“He [Southgate] took England to the semi-finals of a World Cup and the final of a Euros, and at that time we are talking about small margins that change the outcome of those results. It’s just the world we live in. The review is wild after a short run of results given how England have performed in the last two tournaments, and he was at the forefront of that. This conversation is crazy.
Ultimately, Southgate’s reputation as England manager will be determined by what happens at the 2022 World Cup. The vindication would either look like the final or lifting the trophy. Anything less than that will be seen as a step backwards given the success of the previous two tournaments. Only then will questions about Southgate be answered.