HomeEuro 2024"He Hasn't Had a Good Season!" - Gordon Strachan Defends Gareth Southgate's...

“He Hasn’t Had a Good Season!” – Gordon Strachan Defends Gareth Southgate’s Choice to Snub Man United Star

Assessing England’s Selection Choices Ahead of the Tournament

England’s squad selection has always been a topic of robust debate among fans and pundits alike. With the tournament fast approaching, discussions around player form and management decisions are once again at the forefront. Credit to Gordon Strachan for sparking this conversation in his insightful piece for Prime Casino.

Current Form vs. Proven Talent

Gordon Strachan made some compelling points regarding the selection conundrum faced by England managers, especially when it comes to choosing forwards. He argued, “Rashford has not had a good season. He’s a good player, but he’s not had a good season.” This distinction between a player’s overall ability and their current form is critical in team selection. Strachan highlighted other players like Anthony Gordon and Eze of Crystal Palace, noting, “both of those players have produced better campaigns and are in better form than Rashford this year.”

This observation leads us to an essential question: Should a national team rely more on the current form or the proven talent of its players? Strachan suggests that managers sometimes lean on past performances and the hope of big-match temperament coming to the fore. However, he cautions, “The reality is that that very rarely happens. Players don’t click into form just because they’ve got on a plane.”

Managerial Insight and Tough Calls

Managing a national team isn’t just about picking the best players; it’s about selecting a group that can work together to excel on the international stage. Strachan supports Gareth Southgate’s tough decisions, stating, “I don’t have a problem with Gareth leaving Rashford behind. I don’t have a problem with him leaving Grealish behind.” This underlines the unique perspective a manager brings to team selection, one that might not always align with public opinion or media expectations.


Indeed, the England manager needs a degree of stubbornness, as Strachan puts it, “Stubbornness definitely helps you. Blinkers down, this is what I’m going to do.” This approach is crucial, especially when decisions are likely to be scrutinized and debated across various media platforms.

Selection Philosophy: Balancing Act

Every manager has a philosophy on team selection, but the common thread among successful managers is their ability to strike a balance between form and experience. Players like Rashford and Grealish, despite their undeniable talent, may not always be the best choices if their recent performances aren’t up to mark. Strachan’s assertion rings true when considering the unpredictable nature of form in football. As he notes, “For forwards, it’s different. You’ve got to pick players who are on form at that moment in time; players that have been performing for the last two or three months.”

Future Implications for England

Looking ahead, the decisions made today will undoubtedly shape the narrative of England’s campaign. While the exclusion of high-profile names like Rashford and Grealish may seem controversial, it reflects a broader strategy focusing on tactical suitability and current performance levels. Managers are tasked not just with selecting a team but with forging a unit capable of competing at the highest level. This includes making hard choices that might not be popular but are deemed necessary from a strategic standpoint.

In conclusion, as England moves forward, the focus should remain on how these selections impact the team dynamics and their performance in upcoming matches. Strachan’s insights provide a valuable perspective on the complexities of team selection, reminding us that football, at its core, is as much about strategy as it is about skill.

England’s journey in the tournament will be a true test of whether these tough managerial decisions will pay off.

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