football

The Southgate Era: What Can England Do Under The New Boss?

March 23, 2017

- Grant Whittington

It has been a turbulent period for the England football team, from the debacle of losing to Iceland at Euro 2016 to Sam Allardyce’s ill-fated couple of months in charge, and there is a sense that things can only get better.

Gareth Southgate is now the full-time coach after initially taking the reins on an interim basis and it remains to be seen how he will shape his team.

Leaving Allardyce’s one match aside, the hope will be that there is a bit more structure to proceedings than before, with Roy Hodgson heavily criticised for the way his side played at last summer’s European Championship.

Having top striker Harry Kane taking corners was universally slammed by pundits but it took Wayne Rooney’s intervention for the coach to see the error of his ways.

That will surely not happen under Southgate’s leadership as he comes across as a highly intelligent man with a good football brain and more in touch with the current crop of players than Hodgson.

The former Middlesbrough chief has guided the Three Lions to the top of World Cup qualification group F but they are still generally priced at 20/1 win the whole event.

Having claimed the world’s greatest tournament just once in their history more than 50 years ago, England will not be among the favourites in Russia with 888 betting but could be worth a punt as an outsider using an 888 bet free bet or titan bet free bet.

One of the new boss’s first jobs will be to solve the Rooney conundrum.

No longer a regular at Manchester United and with rumours of a possible move to China refusing to die down, England’s most capped outfield player is still as keen as ever to represent his country.

But there are better and more effective players in his position, with Tottenham’s Dele Alli surely set to be one of the first names on the team sheet under Southgate’s reign.

England cannot afford to carry a player on reputation alone and, over the past couple of years, that has been the case with Rooney.

The former Everton man is captain and there is growing pressure for him to be relieved of that job and for Harry Kane to take over – a move that would show leadership and courage on Southgate’s part and prove that it is now his team.

It seems inevitable that England will qualify for the World Cup and they are priced at a restrictive 1/10 to do so, but Scotland have work to do to join them from the same group and so it may be worth using free bet offers to back the men from north of the border to make a late run.

England have played ponderous football of late, with the 2-0 victory over Malta illustrating the point, and have yet to really hit their straps under the new coach but they have the players to ruffle a few feathers.

The likes of Adam Lallana, Ross Barkley, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Kane are all exciting stars but must be allowed to express themselves on the pitch and not play the restrictive, negative football that was the hallmark of Hodgson’s reign.

When plan A does not work, England do not seem to have a plan B but that might change if West Ham’s injury-prone striker Andy Carroll is recalled.

Southgate is said to be an admirer and his towering presence would allow the manager to change things when needed late in a game to introduce a more direct approach.

Playing the ‘Premier League’ way, with plenty of energy, aggression and pace is what the fans want to see, but most England managers have usually tended to err on the side of caution, preferring to bide their time, even against the lesser nations.

Early indications are that Southgate will be the same but he has plenty of time to adapt his style and try to give the supporters what they want while playing winning football.

The former England Under-21 manager has only just started his time in charge of the senior side but he is popular with the players and seems to be on their wave length.

If he can get them playing to their potential and showing their club form for England, then that is half the battle and will give him every chance of being successful.

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