“Clowngate strikes again”, “Southgate is going to get fired”

England fans are furious with Gareth Southgate’s starting XI for UEFA Nations League clash against Italy at the San Siro in Milan tonight (September 23).

The Three Lions are at the bottom of their group and are at risk of being relegated from League A if they fail to beat the Azzurri this evening. Southgate drew two of their previous four games and lost the other two. They played out a goalless draw against the Azzurri in the reverse fixture in September.

Southgate has seemingly picked a back three for the clash, with Nick Pope in goal. Kyle Walker, Harry Maguire, and the returning Eric Dier in defence. Reece James and Bukayo Saka are expected to be the right and left wing-backs respectively. Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice could start in midfield. Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and captain Harry Kane form the front three.

However, fans are unhappy with the England lineup, with some calling for Southgate’s sacking if they fail to win. They took to Twitter to share their frustration.

Here are some of their reactions:

Southgate is going to get fired. playing a back 5 with this many elite attackers and mids is a crime. Especially when it’s maguire and dier. twitter.com/England/status…

@FootballJOE Would rather Coady than Maguire to be honest, but I reckon he’ll do alright against the style of play if his head’s in the game. Proof’s in the pudding so I’ll wait and see.

Sack Southgate if they don’t score 5


England manager Gareth Southgate backs Harry Maguire

Harry Maguire has come under immense criticism since the start of the 2021-22 season. His performances for Manchester United were often error-prone or lackadaisical.

Maguire has been demoted to the bench under new United manager Erik ten Hag this season. He has started just three games this season, with United losing all three.

However, Southgate has backed the England international, saying (via The Guardian):

“Clearly, it’s not an ideal situation (with Maguire). We’re only a few weeks on from pre-season so, physically, if they’ve had a few 90 minutes, that’s fine. Another seven to eight weeks, that does start to become more complicated. But he is an important player for us, and it’s important to back our best players. Whatever reputation I have, I’m putting it on there.”

He praised Maguire and John Stones’ ability on the ball and in the air, saying:

“He is our most dominant aerial centre-back. Him and John (Stones) are incredible with the ball – the amount of pressure they have taken for the team in tournaments because we don’t always have that midfield pivot player who can progress the game. It means there is a huge amount more pressure on our centre-backs to use the ball well, and those two are as good as any in world football at doing that.”

Stones is suspended for the game against Italy after he picked up a red card in England’s embarrassing 4-0 defeat against Hungary in September.


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