Gareth Southgate 2.0 finally delivers the England team fans have been begging for

Gareth Southgate masterminded England's 2-1 win over Netherlands to reach the Euro 2024 final

Gareth Southgate masterminded England’s 2-1 win over Netherlands to reach the Euro 2024 final (Picture: Getty)

A fortnight on from having been pelted with beer cups for the crime of steering England to the knockout stages of Euro 2024 with the minimum of fuss, Gareth Southgate is once again the toast of the nation.

Like a long-distance runner kicking for the finish line with immaculate timing to sweep past their rivals, England and their overly criticised manager are coming to the boil when it matters most.

Who knew that peaking in the group stages and throwing caution to the wind when there was little riding on what was effectively a dead rubber against Slovenia was not the most advisable course of action.

Perhaps the manager who has masterminded the most successful period in the history of the men’s national team, and not the 60 million armchair managers who obsess over Southgate’s every decision, did indeed know best.

England’s route to a date with destiny in Berlin has not been without its travails and up until last night there had been a lingering feeling that success was only likely to be achieved on the back of dour, safety-first football that was never likely to yield the best from the abundant talent Southgate is blessed to have at his disposal.

The 53-year-old has largely cut a tortured figure over the course of the last month and, with good reason, struggled to compute the avalanche of criticism that has flown in his direction.

Yet, despite his obvious and justifiable frustration, Southgate’s composure has never wavered. It is that unflappable nature which remains his best quality.

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Ollie Watkins scored England’s vital winning goal against Netherlands(Credits: REUTERS)

Harry Kane kept his composure to score England’s equaliser from the penalty spot (Picture: Getty)

While his predecessors would have crumpled and allowed a sense of paranoia to cripple their teams, England’s players, outwardly at least, thanks largely to their manager, have maintained a level of calm  that has belied some of the perilous situations they have found themselves in of late.

As results and performances have improved, so too has Southgate’s decision making, culminating in last night’s win which represented the best managerial performance of his career.

A goal down early on, courtesy of an uncharacteristic Declan Rice error, England appeared set for a night to forget. Not a bit of it.

Far more fluent and composed in the 3-4-2-1 formation that looks a perfect fit for England’s attacking players, the Three Lions shrugged off that early setback and clawed their way back into the contest.

An equaliser may have been the product of a ludicrous penalty decision that was branded a disgrace by Gary Neville, but a goal on the balance of play was merited.

England’s twin 10s, Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden, buzzed with intent, Bukayo Saka and Kyle Walker worked in tandem on the …read more

Source:: Metro


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