“It was a mess…”
While the majority of fallout that came following England’s loss to Italy on Sunday night centred around the penalty shootout, Richard Keys has instead focused on Gareth Southgate’s managerial performance as a whole.
The controversial pundit and broadcaster said that England should have won Euro 2020, and that the constant changing of the Starting XI was “a mess”.
In his weekly blog, where he had previously said that Southgate had “made some big calls and so far got them all right” just six days before the final, he tore into the English manager, claiming he never knew what his best team was.
Richard Keys on Gareth Southgate
He wrote: “Truth is – it was a wasted opportunity. England should’ve won it. You won’t read this elsewhere – but it’s true.
“They had home advantage. Home crowd. No travel (apart from the trip to Rome). But they only played in fits and starts…
“I’m not convinced that Southgate ever had any idea what his best team was. Why all the chopping and changing? This was put down to ‘tactical nous’ by the Press boys. No it wasn’t. It was a mess…
“Every change of personnel and system was passed off as ‘genius’. But it wasn’t. For me it was an admission that we didn’t have a single XI good enough. If a Premier League manager had been chopping and changing like it he’d have been pilloried.
“There’s no doubt that England have made strides in the right direction. It hasn’t happened overnight and it hasn’t happened because of Gareth Southgate…
“There’s no question that Southgate is a nice man – but to win at the highest level that isn’t a tool required. He’s worked hard and thrown himself at his job. But I’d change it now – or what happened at Wembley will happen again in Qatar – but long before the final.”
While Keys is often mocked for his controversial opinions on football, it is hard to argue with the idea that England blew a golden opportunity to win a major tournament for the first time since 1966.
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