Football

Gary Neville Sums Up How Fickle The English Press Are Toward Gareth Southgate

Gary Neville Sums Up How Fickle The English Press Are Toward Gareth Southgate

Gareth Southgate was the toast of Fleet Street until recently, with the England manager's habit of agreeing with them and letting them play darts with his players evidently currying a bit of favour among Her Majesty's Press.

Southgate was hailed for winnng the World Cup of Preparation, with Frank Lampard saying Southgate had "played a blinder" ahead of the tournament. Subsequent victories over the strikingly useless Tunisia and Panama left Southgate's popularity among the media at an all-time high, with Henry Winter writing in the Times that Southgate "is already a key influence in the history of the English game".

The tide is beginning to turn, however.

Resting players for the Belgian game - and then refusing to call for the cavalry once England were behind - meant that Southgate pretty much accepted defeat as a way of slipping into the 'easy side of the draw', in spite of this 'easy side' means a last-16 tie against Colombia (who are quite good) rather than Japan (who are quite bad).

This decision is beginning to come under fire from some of the writers covering England at the tournament, and while many of the front pages are still in triumphalist mode, some criticism of Southgate did seep to the back page of the Daily Mail: 

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As things betray a hint of turning, Gary Neville - who was "more positive than ever" after the Belgium defeat - took to Twitter to defend Southgate.

He also pointed to a salient hypocrisy:

And a fine response when writer Daniel Storey tweeted the soon-to-be-infamous Winter line in reply:

Southgate and England have yet to be properly tested in the tournament yet, so he had better hope his gamble pays off. Otherwise, it could get very uncomfortable...

Gavin Cooney
Article written by
Changed the spelling of his name upon pressure from Michael Owen.

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