Gareth Southgate Could Take A Leaf Out Of Ralph Hasenhuttl's Book !
Monday, 16th Nov 2020 10:25
When Gareth Southgate took over as manager of the England side 4 years ago, it looked a breath of fresh air but somewhere along the line he lost the way, perhaps he should look to the way that Ralph Hasenhuttl has build his Southampton squad as a blueprint if he is to stay as England manager.
When he was appointed as England manager back in 2016 as a temporary replacement for the disgraced Sam Allardyce, it looked like a breath of fresh air in the England camp, the FA had spent two decades blundering through appointments ranging from Terry Venables who created a clique where you seemed to have to be a member of his West End nightclub Scribes to be picked for an England squad, through a succession of managers who ranged from a little weird in Glenn Hoddle, a little naïve in Kevin Keegan, a couple of foreign coaches and then the journeyman years with the likes of Steve McClaren, Roy Hodgson and the aforementioned Allardyce.
When Southgate was appointed and promoted from the U23 set up it looked a breath of fresh air, he stated that gone where the days of players being picked just because they played for the big clubs, now it would be done on merit and an England cap had to be earned not given!
Initially all looked good, qualification and a decent showing in the 2018 World Cup where we reached the semi final boded well for the future, but suddenly something changed,
Southgate started to forget about what he had said previously, suddenly players were coming into his squad on an almost rotational basis, prior to the game against Belgium, the England manager had picked 86 players in his squads, an astonishing number, stranger still is that 13 of those players got no further than sitting on the bench.
Most of those players seem to have come from outside of the big six, only Manchester United's Aaron Wan Bisakka & Arsenal's Keiran Gibbs playing for one of the big club's, but Bisakka was typical of the way that Southgate is seemingly now thinking.
In May 2019 whilst still a Palace player he received his first call up to the England U23 side, playing just once in the tournament, the following month he signed for Manchester United and hey presto he is named in the England squad in August 2019 having barely played a game for United at that stage, indeed he had only played 42 times for Palace before leaving.
Suddenly the die was set for Southgate, he seemed now to be looking first at the name of the club a promising youngster played for and secondly their performance record..
Hence players like Jack Grealish, our own James Ward Prowse or Danny Ings are overlooked for the likes of Mason Mount, Ruben Loftus Cheek, Reece James, Ashley Maitland Niles, Callum Hudson Odoi, Bukayo Sako, Mason Greenwood, Phil Foden, Tammy Abraham get into squads whilst barely playing for their parent clubs and are handed caps seemingly just for turning up. Likewise Jude Bellingham for a high profile move to Germany.
But the most startling statistic is that since taking over, 17 member so Southgate's England squads have been been headline news and only Marcus Rashford ironically Southgate's most capped player can say it's for a good record.
Perhaps Harry McGuire can say he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but the rest made the headlines due to an arrogance that makes them feel that they are above the normal moral's of society and they have no respect for anyone, MP's have been slated for flouting lockdown rules, but they are neck and neck with footballers in that respect.
Take the recent case of Phil Foden & Mason Greenwood, both had made their England debuts only days earlier, you would think that they would be keen to make a good impression on Gareth Southgate & cement their place in his future plans, but no, they preferred to flaunt not just Southgate's rules but the strict rules in place to allow International football to be played during lockdown.
Luckily they were caught and prevented from going down to breakfast, if they had then the fixture against Denmark could have been called off , just because they wanted to be flash and take two girls back to their rooms.
They were sent home, but they had to go home anyway, they couldn't stay with the squad due to the quarantine regulations surrounding the England party.
This was a chance for Gareth Southgate to crack down and show his squad that an England cap was earned, at this stage he should have taken disciplinary action, but aside from a telling off there was nothing. Indeed Foden is already back in the squad.
Southgate should have banned them from being selected until March at least, put the Country and its reputation before pandering to the Big Six, have no doubt if that was James Ward Prowse or Danny Ings involved this would have happened.
Gareth Southgate could learn a lot from Ralph Hasenhuttl, the Austrian is a man who has a plan and knows how he will carry it out, it is all about team spirit and he allows nothing to upset the balance of that.
A year ago Saints were in turmoil, but Hasenhuttl knew where his squad was going wrong, he had already started to weed out the bad eggs, bad influences were loaned out and those youngsters who had come under the spell of that player and thought that they too could swan around like a superstar found themselves in the cold.
Ralph doesn't talk individually about them, he talks in the context of the squad and how some players are not yet professional enough for him.
That is in direct contrast to Gareth Southgate who has seemingly lost team spirit and now has a collection of individuals, at the top you have those who think they are untouchable and at the bottom those that wonder why they turn up for an England squad when picked as despite performing season in season out for their clubs they are overlooked for those that play for the big six, in fact I will change that, those that are in the squads of the Big Six.
This has happened because Southgate is not brave or strong enough to face the England squads demons, he is too scared to incur the wrath of the Big Clubs, he will pander to them and their players and hope that it turns out all right.
That is not Hasenhuttl's way, he will address a problem and let it be known it will not be tolerated, he is not afraid to suffer in the short term in order to achieve long term goals.
Unlike Southgate he seems to realise that if you indulge a 20 year old multi millionaire p***k now, then he will become a 25 year old multi millionaire p***k and not a mature footballer achieving the standards his talent deserves.
Sadly England have too many 25 year old p***ks in the squad at the moment and this makes the 20 years olds think this is the way forward.
Of course there are some good men in there, but not enough and that is down to self discipline that comes from within.
So I fear for England's future unless Gareth Southgate draws a line in the sand and makes it quite clear that anyone who crosses it will be severely dealt with, I am not confident that will happen, Foden's reinstatement to the squad after a misdemeanour that almost resulted in an England game being postponed was brushed under the carpet, I can't think of too much worse before Southgate will act.
Saints revival has been based on Ralph Hasenhuttl not tolerating poor off the field behaviour, he demands standards from his players, indeed this has been the Saints way for some time now, the Black Box system looks not just what a player does on the field but what he does off it, one or two have slipped through the net of late at St Mary's, but the Austrian manager if getting us back there.
Photo: Action Images
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