Jan 21, 2009

The Trouble With Gareth

Because Gareth Southgate never played for truly big club (with apologies to Aston Villa), it may be hard for those who are new to English football to appreciate just how good he was. In the mid-to-late-1990s he was a stalwart of the England team, particularly during England's semi-final-reaching campaign in Euro 96.

Southgate was an extremely cultured center-back, who's game was about timing and quality in possession as much as anything - - think Ricardo Carvalho of Chelsea. He was also one of the more thoughtful players around. In short, he's a player on whom most fans of English football would wish success

So articles that discuss his current woes as a manager are disheartening to read. Especially since they come just over a month after this piece, outlining Southgate's hope to emulate Arsene Wenger.

But, as they say, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. For all his smarts and his desire to bring up youth players and play pretty football, Middlesbrough today sit in the relegation zone, and are on course to rack up 36 points over the season.

Luckily for Southgate, there seems to be a lot of crappy teams...er, competition at the foot of the table. He still has time to sort the problem out, and as The Guardian points out, his chairman Steve Gibson is an extremely loyal boss. It'll be interesting to see if he can put his good words into action and eventually realize his vision for Boro.


1 comment:

  1. Southgate's biggest moment on the international stage came at the 1996 Euro tourney. England advanced all the way to the semifinals (hard to imagine them doing that today. They can't even qualify!) and their semifinal game with Germany went to penalties. The first four players from each team scored. Then Southgate was up. He missed and Germany went to the final, ultimately beating the Czech Republic on the short-lived "golden goal" rule. Poor Gareth. I wonder if he ever recovered?