It was mid-morning, probably about three hours before kick-off, when the hashtag “Southgate Out” started trending on Twitter. This furious call for the England manager to be sacked before a ball had been kicked was provoked by early reports – not even confirmation – of what the line-up might be. There was anger that Jack Grealish was on the bench and that Raheem Sterling and Kalvin Phillips were both in the starting XI. What’s he up to? Southgate Out!
Lots of people were quick to point out that it was, perhaps, a bit much to demand “Southgate Out” quite so early in the tournament. But I have to say I am very much here for this sort of behaviour.
One of the great joys of football is sharing extreme, usually ill-informed opinions with other fans. None of us knows anything, yet we all believe that with the right suit and a whiteboard we could do a better job than most professional managers. It’s magical. If you think you know better than the man who has worked with the England squad since 2013, well, why not say so?