Southgate’s England continue their overhyped

Malta v England (0-4) | Trent Alexander-Arnold Masterclass | Match Highlights | Euro 2024


As we were told that this proves Gareth Southgate is the right man for the job a voice popped up saying “you’d have a better night with toothache” as they bored their way to a victory over the might of… Malta.

On a day when the Ashes started with England declaring before the end of play because they want to entertain, we weren’t even 30 seconds into England’s latest Euro qualifier when the commentators started with the “have to be patient”.

Mate, it’s Malta. Currently ranking 172nd in the world.

What followed was a first half were England scored three goals, without you feeling the Malta goalkeeper had very little, if nothing to do. It says there’s saves but England with having 70% of the ball created little or nothing. Certainly nothing to entertain.

It was a first half, hell it was a whole game full of Southgate tropes.

Picking the favourites while leaving new guys on the bench. Lots of passing backwards, due to players facing backwards, when Malta weren’t challenging them and going forwards wouldn’t have trouble them. So many short passes to players with a man on, while someone stands in acres of space but required a longer ball. Fullbacks not venturing beyond the halfway line.

The only surprise in the first half was the few touches Pickford had. Though with Malta not really pressing the defence and the lack of Kyle Walker in the starting XI helped that.

It took eight minutes for England to open the scoring. A ball over the top from TAA – playing in midfield because Southgate likes to copy others – to Saka who managed to knock the ball across where Kane was lurking for a tap in before the Malta defender put it in his own net. After seeing the ball over the top work, England didn’t do it again.

It took 20 minutes of patience before the second. This time it required TAA to have a pop from distance. Cracking goal but with his ball for the first the hyperbole that’s followed is unbelievable, it was Malta.

The third game a few minutes later when Kane got his customary penalty, after being taken out when chasing down a shot the keeper saved. The commentators proudly announcing this was Kane’s 50 competitive goal and he’s the first one to reach that number. Well, he is one of only two players who have 50 or more in total.

During the half Saka went down injured. Looked bad so Southgate sent Rashford out to warm up. Yes, he hasn’t seen enough of Rashford, needs to see more. Saka stayed on. Why? Why when you’re three up against Malta do you keep a player on? He came off at half time but not for Rashford but Foden. Because Southgate hasn’t seen enough of Foden, he needs to see more. Meanwhile new boy Eze sat on the bench.

Amazingly in the second half Foden did even less than he did when coming off the bench for City in the CL final. Spent the half running towards his own goal and passing the ball straight back after receiving it.

The second half was another Southgate trope. Come out comatosed and don’t get any better. For what little the Malta keeper seem to have to do in the first half, he had to do a hell of a lot less in the second as England managed just one shot that the keeper had to save. He didn’t save the penalty that came a few minutes before the final whistle. Andros Townsend whinging about the pen being given, yes the arms were by his side but he stuck his hand out to block the ball, a pen.

Eze finally got on the pitch after 70 minutes. What’s the point really…

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