Exclusive: Southgate’s England coaching set-up is the big problem

Posted by

So far in Euro 2024, England have been incredibly underwhelming in the system that Gareth Southgate and his coaches have devised for them.

Touted as one of the favourites for the tournament before it had kicked off, the Three Lions have been hanging on by their fingernails.

Under normal circumstances a quarter-final against Switzerland would hold no fears whatsoever, however, the Swiss have been playing above themselves in the tournament and, given England’s own form, will represent another tough challenge.

Southgate’s England need to up their game

In Phil Foden, Jude Bellingham and Harry Kane, Southgate has the Player of the Year in both the Premier League and La Liga at his disposal, as well as the Bundesliga’s top scorer, and yet England have looked a shadow of the team that they could be.

Former super agent and co-creator of the Premier League, Jon Smith, believes the problems derive from Gareth Southgate’s backroom team.

“I like Gareth Southgate a lot, and I used to work with him years ago. He’s a super human being and a great manager. Over the years you see the other great managers, but now it’s always a management team.,” he told CaughtOffside for his exclusive column.

“In days gone by, when I was working with people like Fergie, he wasn’t the greatest tactician, but he acknowledged that and hired the best tacticians, managing them from an overall capacity and in his case, very personally.

Gareth Southgate’s England aren’t playing anywhere close to their best

“I’m sadly of the view that the coaching set up around Gareth Southgate at the moment just isn’t right. It doesn’t play to the strengths of the players that he’s got.

“Look at the way the team played last week and the week before… and eight of those players are in teams that play a high press, very quick movement of the ball, inverted wingbacks on occasion, all the kind of modern jargon that you want to throw in there, but they play it well because they’re well coached.

“Gareth could do worse than just say, ‘play like you play at your team and let’s coordinate what you do in a collective,’ rather than ‘let’s play it safe here, keep it there.’

“Everything’s a bit old fashioned in this setup. It’s a bit 10 years ago, it’s showing and I’m fearful.

“I mean, I want England to win it, but I’m very fearful that coaching has moved on, and England haven’t in coaching terms. I’d like to see us use the wonderful players we’ve got in the ways that they’re used to being used.

“Gareth is a really good man manager, I’m just not quite sure what’s happening below him in the tactical management set-up.”

It’s hard to disagree with Smith’s point of view because the Three Lions certainly appear to have reverted to type in this tournament.

They are still in it, however, and with a favourable draw all the way to the final, if they can find some form, there’s still a chance they could go all the way.

More Stories Gareth Southgate Jon Smith