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‘Strange narrative’ to fuel England manager Gareth Southgate at 2022 World Cup

‘Strange narrative’ to fuel England manager Gareth Southgate at 2022 World Cup

England manager Gareth Southgate has come under a massive bout of criticism after the Three Lions have put in a month of abysmal displays under his leadership, leading the nation’s top boss to speak out regarding the narratives that have begun to build around his tenure as well as the team.

This comes in the wake of England being embarrassed in a 4-0 loss at the Molineux last night against Hungary in front of the home support at Wolves’ ground, amounting to the second time in ten days that the national side has been blanked by the Magyars.

It was the fourth consecutive match that England failed to secure three points in during UEFA Nations League play in Group A, with the other two results amounting to a 1-1 draw against Germany in Munich, and a 0-0 draw against Italy, also at the Molineux, seeing England bag just one goal in 360-minutes of football.

England now sits dead last in their Nations League group, and though the World Cup in Qatar is five months away, questions continue to be asked regarding whether or not Southgate is the right man for the job.

But Southgate has intended to use the recent criticism and ‘strange narrative’ as fuel for the mid-season tournament starting in November.

“Would it make Qatar sweeter? Well, no, you know, to be successful in Qatar would be sweet whatever happens.”

“Of course, I’ll use it as fuel. Because when you have disappointment and you read negativity and feel the mood, you of course want to fight and prove people wrong. But I’ve done that all my life, so that there’s not an extra incentive because of a night like tonight.”

“I know nights like this can happen. They’re not pleasant. They’re not enjoyable. I’ve seen it with others. But they are the realities of football. I have found the 10 days strange in terms of the narrative, as I found the last Nations League strange because I think the context was clear. And I didn’t agree with everything that was suggested.”

‘Strange narrative’ to fuel England manager Gareth Southgate at 2022 World Cup

2JBA56D Soccer Football – UEFA Nations League – Group C – Hungary v England – Puskás Aréna, Budapest, Hungary – June 4, 2022, Hungary’s Loïc Nego in action with England’s Mason Mount REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

For a nation tipped as one of the likely favorites in Qatar, England certainly has not looked the part of late after comfortably smashing their World Cup qualifying section before beating both Switzerland (2-1) and Ivory Coast (3-0) in a pair of friendlies back in March.

Headlined by the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, and Bukayo Saka, the fact that England has managed just a single goal against credible opposition in the form of Germany and Italy, and an underrated Hungary outfit, questions could certainly be asked if Southgate’s tactical schematic will stand the test of time come the World Cup.

Despite that, England still is in the hunt for striking the right tactical balance according to Southgate, who seems unphased by recent criticism and remains confident moving forward.

“…And I think some of the desire to see open play… we saw tonight that you’ve got to have the balance of a team right. And you’ve got to get those decisions right. And with a club, maybe if you’re at the top, and you’ve got a long time working with the players, you can play a more expensive game.”

“But I think even the top teams, they’re bloody good defensively, they’re good on transition, the balance of everything is right. So I think the idea that we can just play lots of attacking players and rely on talent to win matches, it’s not the way it is. And, you know, that was a reminder to myself tonight in the second half that okay, that’s a gamble. You go for a gamble to try to win the game because you think that’s important. But what happened can happen.”