England’s Worrying State Entering the World Cup

James Budgen

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England’s Worrying State Entering the World Cup

With their longest winless streak in almost 30 years, England’s form would be very worrying at any point, but with the next match being their World Cup opener against Iran, the feeling inside the camp and the country has hit a low after such great highs over the past few years.

While Gareth Southgate has his flaws, and as England manager, they are all brought to the table, the one thing he has done better than any England manager in recent history has been creating a harmonious atmosphere, both within the dressing room and with the supporters, and now feeling is low in both areas, Southgate has to dig into his bag to find the magic formula to get his side back into form.

Southgate has almost put the knife in his own back to be criticised for bad results, because he has raised the bar at his two tournaments in charge, reaching the semi-final in Russia 2018 and losing on penalties in the final of Euro 2020 last summer, and with raised expectations, after they were dead and buried when he was appointed, he seemingly has to do something that has only happened once in the country's history and win a major trophy to get everyone back onside.

World Cup 2022 Golden Boot Award

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HARRY KANE @ 7/1

Nations League Debacle

England’s form after the Euros Final and before the Nations League was decent, playing nine games, winning seven and drawing twice, scoring thirty-five goals and conceding only three times, but with the step-up with competition, facing both Italy and Germany, England have majorly struggled.

In England’s six Nations League games, they have been underwhelming all over the park, offensively, it has been stale, only scoring two open-play goals, four in total, the lowest amount from any teams in the top tier of the Nations League, while defensively it has also been all over the place, with only three other top tier Nations League teams conceding more goals than them, including an embarrassing 4-0 loss to Hungary.

Since Southgate was put in charge, he has put his trust in a core group of players to get the job done, notably Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane to produce goals, Harry Maguire, John Stones and Kyle Walker in defence, each capped over 45 times under Southgate, with Declan Rice alongside either Jordan Henderson and Kalvin Phillips in midfield, with other players being brought in and out to make the XI.

That core of players right now when he needs them seems to be failing him, and with limited opportunities for game time before the World Cup, Southgate has stuck by his guns and hasn’t been willing to rotate to get his core group back to its previous form.

World Cup 2022 To Win All Group Games

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ENGLAND @ 15/8

England’s Underperforming Stars Must Repay the Faith

This decision by Southgate to stand by his players and put all his faith in the currently underperforming players that have seen more success for England than many previous generations will either save his job if they return the favour and produce the goods, or he will lose his job with critics saying that he should’ve experimented with his squad and given other players chances, bringing a lot of pressure on himself especially if the results and performances don’t live up to expectations.

Unlike other tournaments where you look back and see that the quality of the squad isn’t one that should be competing for the honours, the squad Southgate has in possession right now is a real golden generation in English football, with multiple players in the squad valued at vast sums and rated very highly globally.

The squad is to such a standard that it regularly sees players benched who have and could be sold for record-breaking prices, which has frustrated fans even more because they see how many of these players perform.

Collectively for England right now they either are not performing very well, or not being selected, notably, the omissions of Fikayo Tomori and Trent Alexander-Arnold from the matchday squad against Germany caused some fans to raise an eyebrow at Southgate.

Southgate could have used these past six games as motivation for his squad, playing again as the underdogs again, as that has seemingly worked in the past two tournaments where expectations were not very high, and this lowering of expectations going into this tournament could be just the kick up the backside he needed his squad to have entering a major tournament, but time will tell whether this group of players have it in them to enter a tournament with high expectations and deliver to those expectations.

World Cup 2022 England Specials

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ELIMINATED BY A PENALTY SHOOT-OUT @ 5/1

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