Gareth Southgate has gone emotional after a poor UEFA Nations League campaign relegated the country to League B. Southgate’s promising start with the Three Lions ended in a slog of winless matches in the UEFA Nations League.
It is a difficult phase in Gareth Southgate’s managerial career as he has gone under heavy torrents of backlash and criticism after seemingly optimistic steps and measures in his managerial career with the Three Lions blundered lamely into dark tunnels of abysmal results in the UEFA Nations League.
In Euros 2016, England secured a vital 2-0 win over Germany at Wembley, with English football pundits announcing the arrival of a new dawn for England under the watch and tutelage of their former defender.
Southgate went on to reach the semi-finals of the Russia 2018 World Cup and reach the finals of the Euros 2020, losing on penalties to one of the most formidable opponents in 25 years, Italy.
Despite failing to make it to the finals of the 2018 World Cup and losing the Euros 2020 to Italy on home soil at Wembley, Gareth Southgate was a great leap from his successor Roy Hodgson who had the Three Lions crash out in Euros 16 to less fancied Iceland.
However, Southgate’s early gains have been eroded after the Three Lions shocked fans and pundits alike with a backdrop of abysmal performance in the UEFA Nations League, failing to score in an open play since a 3-0 win over Ivory Coast in March.
England opened their UEFA Nations League campaign with a shock 1-9 loss to a less fancied Hungary before playing a 1-1 draw with Germany.
Against Italy in the fourth fixture, it was goalless before, the epic 4-0 loss again to Hungary at the Molineux Stadium in front of the home fans.
England fans were already calling for Gareth Southgate to be shown the way out as things worsened. The 1-0 loss of Italy at the San Siro further raised questions about Southgate’s proficiency in the role despite his early gains.
Meanwhile, amid a barrage of criticisms and calls to sack Southgate, the former Three Lions defender has issued a lengthy emotional statement appealing to the fans and media for togetherness.
Speaking on Sunday night, Gareth Southgate said;
“Part of the reason we’ve been successful in tournaments has been the feeling of togetherness.
“We can’t succeed with the fans against us, or you guys in the media not feeling warm towards us. It’s harder if we’re having to battle with the opposition and then battle with things on our own island as well.
“We don’t want the team to be in that type of environment because it is much harder to succeed. Only we can rectify that by performances and results, but that’s the desire.
“In one guise or other I have been to 12 tournaments and I have seen pretty much everything.
“I have seen the cycle of war with the media. I have seen the absolute love-in and we are somewhere in the middle of that right now.
“That is fascinating to observe from my side and it is a life experience I knew, at some stage, would probably come with this job.
“I want to put things right. I want to win. I want the team to play well and I want the fans to be happy. That is why I took the job. I want to make a difference.
“The stadium’s sold out for this. People want to see this team play. That’s because the players have done an unbelievable job for six years.”
Gareth Southgate noted that there has always been an uneasy relationship between the team and the fans, saying it is not healthy for the team.
“We were on the back of a really difficult time, in terms of relationship with the fans, at the start of this journey. Slowly we’ve built”, he said.
“Of course, it’s not healthy for the team to have this noise around them now.
“It’s for me to allow them to go and play. I want them to feel the freedom. We always talk about that. So I would urge the supporters to get behind the team.
“How they deal with me at the end or on the phone-ins or wherever else, is completely different.”
🎙 "The results haven't been at the level we want and what we require"— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) September 25, 2022
Gareth Southgate says he wants to make a difference in English football and will 'keep working every hour' he has to 'try and improve' the England squad 👇 pic.twitter.com/cdLDdoDi6M
Before finally bidding farewell to the fans and heading to the 2022 World Cup, England will face Germany in a dead rubber UEFA Nations League game on Monday, September 26; irrespective of the result, England is rocked bottom and will be heading into relegation into UEFA Nations League Tier B.
Nevertheless, the Germany match means a lot to English fans as the World Cup draws near. If Gareth Southgate tank again in this game, he will risk losing his job sooner than later and the majority of the fans will lose faith in the team ahead of the World Cup in November.