I know it's been a while since I last posted. I'm going to go with a bit of a change of structure now with this 'blog' and see how it goes. I will start posting once a week, and it'll be in less of a blog form, and more like an opinionated article. Hopefully it should be good. Here goes.
Rewind to the summer of 2018. Despite getting knocked out in the semi-finals to Croatia, there seemed to be a newfound sense of excitement. Even optimism, dare I say.
Now just 15 months on from that thrilling summer that had the whole nation united, the England national team have now sunk into an apparent ‘crisis’.
The word ‘crisis’ seems to be thrown around so easily these days. Mauricio Pochettino, the man who took a pretty ordinary Spurs team into the Champions League final just a few months ago, is now in a crisis.
Pep Guardiola, the man who secured the domestic treble last season, is now in a crisis.
Gareth Southgate, the man who got England into a World Cup and Nations League semi-final, is now in a crisis.
Look, it’s not great. England’s defensive performances against Kosovo and more recently Czech Republic were far from pretty.
But it’s just the first qualifying loss in 44 games. England still sit top of their group. It’s not the end of the world.
There seems to be a culture nowadays with those involved with the England national team, to wait for the first sign of failure so they can hop on the, ‘we are s***’ bandwagon.
Maybe Southgate isn’t the right man to take England forward. In fact, he probably isn’t. But for everything he has done for the national team, surely he deserves a bit more time and backing.
His loyalty to some players is frustrating. Players like Michael Keane, Ross Barkley and Danny Rose shouldn’t be anywhere near this team. But one bad performance and suddenly the media and fans jump on Southgate's back?
There is a distinct possibility that he learns his lesson, right? He is capable of learning from his mistakes. England have some talent in the shed. What if he brings players like Harry Winks, Tyrone Mings and James Maddison into the side? Will people still be complaining then?
Players like Jesse Lingard and Barkley – despite not playing well for their club – have performed superbly for their countries. That’s why Southgate has insisted on them. But if he learns his lesson and drops them, as he did with the Manchester United man and even Dele Alli, then surely that’s a positive?
Fans are like vultures. Declan Rice makes one mistake: ‘He’s so overrated, what a rubbish player, God he’s terrible’.
Harry Kane – World Cup Golden Boot winner and England captain – misses one chance despite being the only player to play well against the Czechs: ‘What a fraud, drop him, can’t finish his dinner’.
It’s such a shame with all the talent at our disposal. But English football just love shooting themselves in the foot.
Back with the England golden generation, what was all the talk about? Not anything positive. Of course not. How dare we be positive. All the talk was about, ‘Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard can’t play together’, ‘we haven’t got a left winger’, ‘who do we play at centre back, surely Jamie Carragher has to play’.
England will never be successful. We can never be happy or positive. I back Southgate just as I did before one measly loss. I trust him to learn his lessons and I know there’s talent there in that squad.
With the European Championships coming next summer, we need to be united and back our team. With a weak set of European nations, England have a chance.
I want to win it. A lot of England fans want to win it. But it feels like a lot of England fans want to fail, just to have something to get angry at.
Unfortunately, that’s just the way it is. We just love shooting ourselves in the foot.