I’M fed up with us being plucky losers.
I can’t stand that.
If I’d been one of those England players I’d be in “don’t talk to me” mode for about two years. I wouldn’t want anyone telling me that I’d done well.
We’ve missed another fantastic opportunity and it’s not a question of effort. We gave absolutely everything.
But our “good effort lads, better luck next time” attitude bloody annoys me. I’m such a bad loser, I can’t take it.
This is the mentality we have to change.
They’re all nice people in the England camp. Gareth Southgate’s lovely, Stevie Holland is wonderful, Chris Powell is a beautiful man.
But they need an experienced, serial winner around the place.
Gareth doesn’t lack courage, he has tremendous courage. But he’s a good loser. It’s hard to say that but it’s the truth.
They need another voice, an experienced head who’s won stuff at the highest level for their clubs who can have a word in some ears about what you need to do to get over that line which we don’t seem able to cross.
We could have done it in Qatar. We fight, we don’t run away. But losing becomes a habit and it’s hard to shake that, even with all the will and all the skill in the world.
You go on the field fearing what might happen and the more you lose the worse that gets.
I don’t want Southgate and his coaching staff to quit. They are great guys and they’re doing great work.
Gareth’s probably thinking: “Have I taken it as far as I can go. I’ve had three shots at it.”
But is there someone else to replace him?
I don’t think Eddie Howe is ready yet, for instance.
He’s early in his development and probably wouldn’t leave Newcastle anyway. We have the best man at the moment but we have to find a way of getting to the next level.
Which is why we need that Bryan Robson type of character, a winner who has a word for the manager or players at the crucial times. Someone the coaching team can call on for advice. Sol Campbell, too, might be someone who fits the bill.
France have that in their manager Didier Deschamps who has done it all and we are missing that ingredient among the backroom team.
When we were kids in the Arsenal youth team we were winning everything, so when we progressed to stepping out at Anfield for the first team it didn’t bother us, we expected to win. It was the same for the Class of 92 at Manchester United.
With experience, you get to know what you need to do, when to drop off, when to go forward. You learn what it takes.
Emotionally and mentally we need a significant shift here. We’re doing the same things. We get what we think we’ll get.
Someone needs to get in among these boys and say there’s going to be a moment where you need to step up.
I remember when we went to Rome needing a draw to qualify for the 1998 World Cup and there was a split second when Christian Vieri got in at the near post and he looked like he might score but I just did enough to stop him.
Similarly, Harry Maguire had to get across and snuff out Olivier Giroud’s threat. There are moments in a game where it’s your turn, where an individual has to do their bit to make sure the team succeeds.
Players need to know when their moment is.
I was saying to my boy: “Giroud’s not done anything.” And he said: “Dad, you’re putting a curse on him” — and he pops up with the winner.
He was there when it was his moment, Maguire wasn’t.
And Southgate also needed someone saying to him: “You can’t take Bukayo Saka off, he’s our best player.”
Saka was my man of the match, he was brilliant. And, like I said ahead of the game, their full-backs were not as good as ours.
Theo Hernandez was shocking and Saka took him to the cleaners. Whereas for us Kyle Walker had a good game against Kylian Mbappe.
We are working in the right direction. We’ve got good players but I stand by changing the captain. Harry Kane is the No 9 and did not shirk responsibility for missing that penalty.
But we’ve got to think about what we do now with the captaincy.
That’s more of an issue than the coach and, as I said before, I believe Declan Rice should have the job.
Is Kane going to be the shining star at the next two tournaments?
When are we going to get to the point where we take him off and change it?
It’s hard to do when he’s captain.
Southgate and Kane come as a pair, though, and there’s such a strong bond there.
It’s another one for the experienced man to advise on and persuade the manager to make that change.
Find the right man for that job and we just might crack it.
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