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Goldbridge: Tactical Changes Southgate Must Consider

Report: Why Southgate Must Drop Kane to Win the Euros

Gareth Southgate’s decision-making is again scrutinised as England prepares for the Euro 2024 semi-finals. Mark Goldbridge, in the That’s Football Podcast, passionately argued that Harry Kane should be dropped for the upcoming crucial matches. This blog explores the key points Goldbridge and other contributors raised, focusing on why Southgate must make bold changes for England’s success.

Southgate’s Loyalty to Kane

Mark Goldbridge opened the podcast with a clear stance: “Gareth Southgate must drop Harry Kane, but we all know he won’t.” This sentiment is rooted in Kane’s current form, which Goldbridge described as “absolutely rubbish” throughout the tournament. Despite being one of England’s greatest players, his recent performances have not justified his place in the starting eleven.

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Lucky Streak vs. Tactical Necessity

Goldbridge likened Southgate’s reliance on Kane to a general relying on luck rather than skill, referencing Napoleon’s preference for lucky generals. He pointed out, “We’ve been ridiculously lucky with wonder goals from Bellingham and Saka, but how long is that luck going to last?” This luck cannot be the foundation for winning a tournament; strategic decisions must be based on current form and tactical needs.

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Comparisons with Club Management

Goldbridge and other contributors compared international management to club management. “If Kane was playing for Bayern Munich, Man City, or Real Madrid, he’d be on the bench,” argued Goldbridge. He emphasized that club managers like Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp would not hesitate to bench an out-of-form player, regardless of their stature.

Alternative Striking Options

The podcast highlighted viable alternatives to Kane, particularly Ivan Toney and Ollie Watkins. Goldbridge stated, “Ivan Toney and Ollie Watkins offer something very, very different – mobility, strength, and form.” He argued that these players are in the form of their lives and could provide the dynamic presence that Kane currently lacks.

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Tactical Flexibility

Using Toney or Watkins would allow England to stretch defences and create more opportunities for midfielders like Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden. Goldbridge said, “Take Harry Kane out, put Ivan Toney or Ollie Watkins up front, and it’s a whole different game.” This tactical flexibility could be crucial against strong opponents like the Netherlands.

Mainstream Media’s Role

Goldbridge criticized mainstream media’s reluctance to challenge Southgate’s decisions. “Your job on mainstream media is actually to have the conversation: Harry Kane shouldn’t be starting; Ivan Toney should,” he argued. The podcast underscored the importance of honest, critical discussions to hold management accountable and push for necessary changes.

Southgate’s Management Style

Goldbridge was critical of Southgate’s management style, which he described as favouring “mates rates” and nepotism. He explained, “It’s almost like a cult. If you’re in the club, you’re all right, it doesn’t matter if you’re not playing for your club.” This favouritism could jeopardize England’s chances, and Goldbridge urged Southgate to adopt a more merit-based approach.

Conclusion

England’s journey in Euro 2024 hinges on Southgate’s willingness to make tough decisions. As Mark Goldbridge emphasised, “We should be managing this team without emotion and with intelligence.” Dropping Kane in favour of in-form players like Ivan Toney or Ollie Watkins could provide the spark England needs to secure their first major tournament victory in decades. The That’s Football Podcast makes a compelling case for Southgate to prioritize performance over loyalty as England eyes the Euro 2024 trophy.

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