After England lost to Holland at the Nation’s League Gareth Southgate’s side came in for a lot of criticism for building from the back and making mistakes. But that’s whats got them to the semi final of the World Cup a year ago, and I think they must stick with it because all the top sides play that way .
You get people who say ‘we overplay at the back’ or ‘we aren’t good enough’ well if we aren’t good enough the way to get good is to stick at it and I think Gareth Southgate will do that.
John Stones has made a big mistake for Holland’s second goal in the semi final but that doesn’t mean the entire philosophy should change.
Every single player makes mistakes. England scored from the penalty spot because Matthijs de Ligt, the Dutch defender who is already regarded as one of the best central defenders in the world as a 19 year old, made a mistake.
I remember my first North London derby when I joined Spurs. It was at home against Arsenal in the League Cup. I was the last defender and instead of just clearing the ball I tried to retain possession and I lost it and we went 1-0 down.
The balls been knocked over the top and I’ve come out and instead of playing it back up the pitch I’ve tried a dummy so I could turn out and pass to Ray Clemence and Tony Woodcock has read that and nicked the ball. We ended up losing 2-1 and getting knocked out of the cup and I got a lot of stick.
One of the biggest problems with today’s game is that people rush to judgments. If a player makes a mistake he’s worthless and if a player scores a goal he’s worth a fortune.
People judge and make decisions on one game or one incident within a game but the best decision makers, in terms of recruiting players, make their decisions based on a long period of assessment. Anyone can have a bad game or a good game.
My advice to John Stones would be to continue playing with belief in his ability because every player makes mistakes but the best players will always bounce back. It took de Ligt less than an hour to bounce back from his defensive error against England by heading in the equalizer.
It took me nearly five months to make up for my mistake in the North London Derby. I came in for a lot of criticism during my first season with Spurs and that was one of the mistakes that really encouraged the fans to get on my back.
We finished 8th so it was a poor season league wise but what got me out of jail was that we won the UEFA Cup and that’s what people remember. Clubs obviously have more opportunities to win trophies than countries do but I’m sure John Stones will turn his England career around too.
I think Gareth Southgate has done a fantastic job, we are looking much better on the pitch and we got to the semi final of the World Cup. We didn’t perform that well in that match but now it’s about getting to the next semi final and hopefully doing better so I think everybody just needs to be a bit more level and calm and not rush to negative judgments based on a single result.
One positive thing that came out of the Nation’s League was that we ended up in a very competitive penalty shoot out and we won it. Historically we lose penalty shoot outs but the last two we have won them so there’s always positives.
I think the biggest positive is the number of young English players who are coming through. The average age of the team that played in the semi final against Holland was just over 24.
Winning the World Cup or European Championships is very difficult to do, but England are definitely moving in the right direction under Southgate and everyone needs to get behind him and understand that England might not always get the right result and players might not always make the right decisions but that doesn’t mean that the entire process is wrong.