His understanding even extends to the media. When Steve Holland dared not completely obscure a possible England side in a possible England lineup ahead of a World Cup match against Panama two years ago, he was captured by long lens cameras and jumped out by journalists, who described the incident as another “own goal” in a major international tournament.
Southgate put on his vest parka first and braved the storm in a cup of tea – “our media have to decide whether or not they want to help the team” – but then came up with a more measured approach.
“Guys have to come up with stories and produce content,” he says. “We have to get results.” And immediately a fire that his predecessors could have continued to stir up was extinguished by a manager who understood how his words could be interpreted and appreciated the motivations of all those involved. Him, Holland, his players, the media: everyone has won. Or at least no one has explicitly lost.
From that to this. Southgate faced an incredibly difficult week, but that cannot excuse his explanation for the squad selection against Denmark and the predictable tasteless performance Who followed. To suggest that “on the backs of everything these last days we had to be sure and strong” was cowardly. To state that “if we had been light and wide open and looked at a mess” then the critics “would point yesterday as the cause of it” completed her transformation from empathic to pathetic.
This is the kind of quote Jose Mourinho would be ridiculed for, a sort of dangerous rhetoric and subtext designed to protect himself and leave others open to censorship. Southgate wants us to know that he only started eight defensive players against Denmark to keep Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood from being blamed if England lost or played poorly, so you can blame Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood for that. . To manage two shots on target in 90 minutes. For giving Jack Grealish 15 minutes. To hate left-handed people. For watching Danny Ings have the best season of his career and rewarding him with 12% of the time on the pitch in two games.
Southgate misjudged him. His first response, calling the couple “naive” and stressing their “responsibilities,” but saying that he will speak to them privately “in the appropriate way” to “not add to the difficulty of their situation” was perfect. He drew the line between authority and sensitivity. He balanced his role as manager of players, expectations and the media.
But feel a stack and maybe an accumulation of resentment Toward his tenure, Southgate didn’t need an excuse to throw a few sneaky kicks, to blame a pair of young players for their own mistakes. The only party that benefits is the one that needs to ‘find stories’ and it has packed this one to the detriment of itself and its players.
Southgate was the one that still excited us in Russia; now he seems just as selfish as the others.