Football

Analysts Collide Over Southgate's 'Naive' Response To Leaked Teamsheet

Analysts Collide Over Southgate's 'Naive' Response To Leaked Teamsheet

"A storm in a teacup" as far as Liam Brady is concerned, Gareth Southgate has experienced his first falling-out with the British media ahead of Sunday's potentially decisive clash with Panama. Should Belgium overcome Tunisia in the other Group G clash tomorrow afternoon, three-points against the Central American side would guarantee Gareth Southgate's side a place in the last-16 of the World Cup.

However, after Southgate's assistant Steve Holland inadvertently presented gathered journalists and photographers a long-lens view of England's potential starting XI for Sunday's game, the England manager was disappointed with the subsequent photographs that emerged and the 'disadvantage' it created for England.

Ahead of the BBC's coverage of Serbia vs Switzerland tonight, Danny Murphy and Jermaine Jenas were split over how the issue ought to have been handled.

For Jenas, the media's job is "to report the news, I mean it's pretty simple as that, and I do, to an extent, get where [Southgate] is trying to come from, but, I think it's also slightly naive to think that ... things like that are not just going to get out anyway."

Hinting at the relationship that Southgate had been trying to build with the British media ahead of England's journey to the World Cup, Jenas nevertheless had little sympathy for the England camp.

Enter Danny Murphy. Believing that the press want "the best of both worlds, they want to be playing darts with the lads and getting on ... [but] as soon as there is a problem they will jump on you and hammer you."

Acknowledging the 'falseness' of the seemingly good relationship Southgate had been trying to form between media and players to begin with, Murphy seemed under the impression that, sooner or later, the media will come for you.

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Speaking of the incident this evening on RTÉ's World Cup panel, Michael O'Neill, the Northern Ireland manager, and Richie Sadlier, took opposing views on what Southgate should expect, and why he may have been 'naive' in his condemnation of their behaviour.

As far as O'Neill was concerned, such behaviour from the media was what made an international job all the more difficult:

I think it's extremely poor by the media to be honest. There is an element of trust, they are given access ... so, to go to that level to try and get that information ... [it] tears apart [the relationship Southgate has been trying to cultivate.]

Contrary to this outlook, Sadlier was less forgiving, branding Southgate "naive" and clearly unaware of what he "expects the role of the media to be" when it comes to England:

If you work for an independent news organisation, you're there to report news. If Southgate wants them to limit what news they report to the news that he thinks is in their best interest, I think he fails to understand what their role is.

An issue that has certainly divided opinion, you can watch the debates in full below.

See Also: Former Referee Hated Working With Arsenal's 'Unpleasant' New Signing

Arthur James O'Dea

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