If you are an English fan or have spent time with one, you have heard the phrase “It’s coming home”. Originally lyrics from a 1996 song called ‘Three Lions’, ‘It’s coming home’ has now become an English football chant. You must have heard it on the radio, TV, or seen it in the media. English fans get started with this chant before any major tournament commences with the hope of their team winning it. Having heard this chant since 1996, the men’s England National Football Team have not won any major tournament since the glory of 1966 when they won the FIFA World Cup. The standard set by Sir Bobby Charlton and his teammates is yet to be matched by any English side ever since. With England through to the last 16 of the Euros, is football finally coming home? The answer to that lies within the managerial situation of the national side and we are going to explore it in detail.
Gareth Southgate was appointed manager of the first team in November 2016. Since then, his side achieved a 4th place finish at the 2018 World Cup and 3rd place at the 2018-19 UEFA Nations League. These achievements, although celebrated by fans, are not satisfactory given the team’s ability. Football analysts and pundits have debated about what went wrong and why aren’t they getting success at these major tournaments. The reason behind this is Gareth Southgate. He is also the reason England are not going to win the Euros.
Gareth began his managerial career with Middlesbrough in 2006. When he was appointed, he did not have the necessary qualifications (UEFA Pro License) to manage a first division team. Despite this, the Premier League made an exception and allowed him to join the club. They had a shaky season and did not win a game away from home for the first 5 months. Southgate’s first season in charge saw his team finish at 12th place. The following season was no better as they finished 13th. In the 2008-09 season, Southgate’s team went on a 14-match losing streak. They ended the season at 19th place being relegated to second division football. This led to Gareth being sacked by the club in 2009.
Gareth returned to football after a four-year break when he was selected as the England U21 manager in 2013. His side achieved the last place in their group in the European Championship in 2015. He enjoyed little to no success in his tenure with the U21 team. Despite this, he was appointed as the interim manager for the first team in September 2016. After 4 games in charge (2 wins and 2 draws), he was given a permanent role as the manager of the first team.
England is a team with superstars such as Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish and sensational youngsters like Jude Bellingham and Jadon Sancho. The squad is filled with talented individuals who have won the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and other domestic trophies. These players need an experienced manager who can maximise the potential of this team.
Gareth’s managerial career speaks of his lack of abilities and experience to manage a top team. He seems like a fool sitting on a king’s throne, not knowing what to do. He is often known to have experimented with his squad during crucial games.
In the opening game of Euro 2020 against Croatia, Gareth had the option of choosing between champions league winner Ben Chilwell and Luke shaw who had an outstanding season for the left-back position. Instead of the two, he chose right-back Kieran Trippier to play that position. This decision was harshly criticised by fans and raised concerns about his team selection. Furthermore, he is yet to start Jadon Sancho in a game at the Euros and has been heavily thrashed by fans on social media for the same. Sancho had 16 goals and 20 assists in the 2020/21 season but despite these phenomenal stats, he is somehow deemed unworthy by Gareth Southgate.
England’s golden generation was a team filled with talented individuals. ‘The Three Lions’ top scorer Wayne Rooney said that they would have won everything if they had a manager like Pep Guardiola. It seems as history has repeated itself, as England under Gareth Southgate is a group of world-class players without international trophies.
They are flooded with talent and can reach the top, but with Gareth Southgate in charge, it seems like a bumpy ride. English fans seem to be stuck in an endless cycle of betting on their team to win a tournament, seeing them not win it and saying they are going to win the next one. They must demand more from the inexperienced manager. The English Football Association (FA) have put their trust in Gareth, but the facts are in front of our eyes.
Do English fans believe ‘It’s coming home or are they headed towards another year of misery, we will have to wait to find out? But in the meantime, the chant keeps ringing louder and louder in our ears; It’s coming home, it’s coming home, football is coming home