Nick from Watford had a bone to pick with England manager Gareth Southgate prior to tonight’s late 1-0 win.
The Three Lions bored their way to a victory against Group F rivals Slovenia at Wembley Stadium on Thursday night. Though England guaranteed that they would top their group, thereby booking their place in Moscow next summer, the performance made all observers, bar insomniacs, weep.
? ? ? #EnglandvsSlovenia
— Alan Shearer (@alanshearer) October 5, 2017
England will terrify world football with that finale. Not to mention a quite stunning clean sheet. Russia 2018 can't come soon enough.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) October 5, 2017
Had a wisdom tooth out earlier, yet somehow this has seemed even more like pulling teeth #EnglandvSlovenia
— Steven Wyeth (@stevenwyeth) October 5, 2017
England have flattered to deceive at major tournaments, but they have frequently steamrolled their way through the qualifying stages. Tonight’s exception can perhaps be explained by Nick, who took issue with certain players ‘living off’ of their respective clubs, aimed at Liverpool duo Daniel Sturridge and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, along with Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard.
Nick needed to get this off his chest…
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) October 5, 2017
“Tonight’s England squad is a damning indictment of the state of the game in England currently. Oxlade-Chamberlain starts despite not having played well all season, and being a professional bench warmer for Liverpool. Lingard has started precisely zero games for Man U this season, yet makes the squad alongside the likes of Daniel Sturridge, who has managed one goal all season and is usually on the bench. This is why young English players don’t mind sitting on the bench at top clubs. Because the reputation of those clubs makes you an automatic pick for the England squad, over other English players who are outperforming them whilst playing for the so called ‘smaller clubs’. Oxlade-Chamberlain making the starting line up is an absolute disgrace and it shows how laughable Southgate is as a manager.”
The game did nothing to dissuade Nick’s rant, as Oxlade-Chamberlain, who started the game on the wing was replaced with thirty minutes to go by. . . . . none other than Jesse Lingard.
Can’t say I disagree with him. There are Championship players having better seasons that half this squad
— George Heeks (@George_C_Heeks) October 5, 2017
Somebody runs in the pitch at Wembley with no right to be on there.
To confirm, that is number 22 Jesse Lingard on the pitch.
— SundayLeagueHipster (@HipsterManager) October 5, 2017
Indeed, three Englishmen in Gary Hooper, Bobby Reid and Jarrod Bowen currently lead the goalscoring charts in the Championship, but the Premier League’s lower sides also harbour potential England internationals.
The friendlies ahead of the World Cup may take on added significance if Southgate decides to hand out debut caps in a bid to reform the squad. For Nick’s sake, let’s hope so.