It’s your own fault, Scotland. Even Gareth Southgate admits that the whole phenomenon that fans north of the border have had to put up with from their England counterparts for the last few years would not have happened if they had done a little bit better the last time they came to Wembley.
No World Cup semi-final. No beers thrown in the air. No waistcoat. No England actually being half-decent for change.
It all boils down to an embarrassing no-show in November 2016 when Southgate was caretaker-manager of a Three Lions set-up at incredibly low ebb.
Two managers sent packing in the aftermath of Euro 2016.
A trip to Malta that had England fans heading out of the ground for the bars at half-time as their misfiring heroes struggled to a 2-0 win.
“I felt we played well on the night but we were in the really early stages of getting the team to resemble what we truly believed and what the consequences of more time coaching the team allowed to happen.
“But the win did not convince me about taking the job full-time – perhaps it persuaded everybody else to think, ‘Blimey, we’ve tried everything else, perhaps we might give this bloke a go – he took the under 21s, let’s go from there!’
“On a personal level, by the time we got there I felt it was a job I wanted even though I was never going to say that publicly.
“But I knew having worked with the players and having had a closer insight into the workings of the job it was something I wanted to go for in my life.
“That is not a good position to be in, in your life.
“When we saw what happened with Christian Eriksen the other day, it was just another reminder that you have got to go for things in life and give them the best possible shot.
“At least when you’re finished, you don’t have regrets about things you did not have a go at or performances that were inhibited.
“We have got to go for it.”
Unfortunately, the success England have enjoyed under Southgate means that another comfortable win will no longer be enough to keep the nation onside.
“Tournaments define England managers, there is no doubt about that,” he said.
“If you look at our history, most of our win records are reasonably similar but the tournament performances define you.
“We are aware of that and know they are the things that really matter for the country and really matter for the team.”
Published at Thu, 17 Jun 2021 21:30:00 +0000