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Clayts last won the day on September 19 2020

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  1. Crikey. That's a statement signing. I wonder if we should send Hugh Jackman a message, see if he fancies putting some investment into a L2 club, just to wind up Ryan 'National League' Reynolds?!
  2. I think on both wings we've got a defensive FB who can cover CB on their side (Cass, Jones), and an attacking FB (Gibbo, Benning), so Amos would defo be the back-up to Benning. Perhaps DC sees Worrall as better cover for Gibbo at RWB than Hurst is for Benning at LWB, so Amos would fill that gap, or perhaps Amos is seen as a possible insurance policy with half an eye on Benning only having a one-year deal? Or possibly a bit of both.
  3. He didn't employ the same tactics at WC2018, he played 3 at the back every game, with 1 DM, so effectively 3-3-3-1, whereas in the Euros he switched between 4-2-3-1 and 3-4-3 depending on opposition. And you're right, the squad has improved in the last few years; have a look back at the 2018 squad and tell me they were world class and that we underperformed. Even with a favourable draw, semis was a great result with Lingard, Alli, Young at LWB, and a choice in central midfield between Henderson, Dier and Loftus-Cheek. The problem v Croatia was that we got overrun in midfield, because we had nothing much there to combat them with. You can have Guardiola as manager, you're not beating Modric, Brozovic and Rakitic with that lot! And that's why he's gone with the more pragmatic approach since. And no, it didn't work in the end against Italy, but I don't think it was Southgate who ordered them to keep giving the ball away and drop that deep, it's almost as if Italy (arguably best team in the world right now, unbeaten in 2 years) wrested back control. But no, you're right, sack him, he has a 0% record in major tournament finals, worst of any England manager ever!
  4. I reckon defence is a lot stronger, particularly on the left-hand side (Johnson > Crooks, Jones > Fitz, Benning >= Monty). Agree re the need for a bit more firepower tho, but think that will come in time as Rob says. All is well.
  5. I reckon so, especially in Theo's case since he'll be on a decent wage. Thinking of those 16, that included a couple of superfluous players covering injuries to Visser and Pope, (wouldn't usually have 3GKs and 5 STs on the payroll) and a couple of lads (DTS, RCG) who were nowhere near the first team. I think we've consolidated their wages, (and probably some of Whitehead and Burgess' wages on the assumption they'll get fixed up), to bring in better quality in certain positions (LB and CM in particular) in place of the previous quantity.
  6. Which process, the one where we get to the final? I'd quite happily see a repeat of that process thanks! I genuinely can't believe you're on about sacking a manager after he got us to our first final in 55 years, and only lost on penalties. Of course he's not perfect, but no manager is. If you get a manager who is less cautious, or is an absolute master tactician, you might have to compromise on the man management or other aspects, and end up in a much worse position overall. Whether you rate him or not, Southgate has got results as England manager, and has the team on an upward trajectory, having picked up the job when we were at our lowest ebb (having lost to Iceland and then having to briefly suffer Big Sam and his pints of wine).
  7. Of course having different opinions is fine, for example the debate on the Euro 2020 thread about the merits of Southgate. We disagree, but are putting our cases forward rationally, with decent evidence-based points made (and acknowledged) on both sides, and no antagonism or name-calling. The problem with your post was the 'ok, I'll bite' at the beginning; as though somebody posting something positive about the signings we've made was some kind of personal challenge. That you couldn't allow that positivity to just sit there without providing a negative viewpoint to the contrary. Can you not just be happy that a knowledgeable neutral is saying good things about what our club has been doing this summer? Please?
  8. I agree with most of that, but would argue that Southgate set us up defensively/pragmatically (delete as appropriate) in order to make up for any relative weaknesses in the centre of defence and midfield. Croatia scored 7 in 2 games against teams who were more open (Scotland and Spain), Germany put 4 past Portugal (and could have had more), and Denmark had scored 10 in 3 games prior to meeting us, so pragmatism seems a logical option in those games. I disagree with this though I actually think we're very similar overall, neither squad has huge stars like in the past, but a lot of very good performers for their clubs, good technically and with lots of energy from largely interchangeable players with similar quality in attacking positions, and real togetherness in the squad. The only difference probably is their experience in those key areas, with Chiellini, Bonucci and Jorginho, plus most of their attacking and MF players being at their peak (most mid-to-late 20s, so more experience than most of our kids), and yes, Mancini won the tactical battle on Sunday (but Southgate got the better of Löw, amongst others).
  9. Could also be 4-2-3-1 with Smith at RB, Garrity between Woz and Amoo seeing he likes to arrive late in the box a la Scholes? Or possibly both, given we've got 120 minutes to kill! As it's four blocks of 30 mins, do you reckon we'll play an hour each with two entirely different XIs, or just rolling subs?
  10. Really? By 2002 and that Ronaldinho goal maybe (although THAT save v Sheff Utd was the year after if I remember right), but he certainly had better temperament than Pickford, was great 1 v 1, excellent shot-stopper, good on pens, held the ball more often than Pickford, and had longevity (Pickford may be number one for another 50 caps and become a great, but we'll see). You mention depth, but that is exactly what I was highlighting in that 2000 squad in key areas (CB, CM, ST) where we had better units collectively. Kane, Maguire and Stones make the 2000 squad comfortably of course, but the point stands that collectively the CB and FW units in 2021 are weaker. I didn't mention full-back because I already said the current squad is better in that area, no argument whatsoever, this was specifically looking at the spine of the team. Also, you're saying now we didn't have a weakness, but before the tournament plenty of people on this very thread were saying we were weak at CB, (Stones prone to mistakes, Mings not international class etc.), worried about GK with Pickford off the back of an iffy season and cover from keepers from WB and SU, and lack of experience in CM (how many caps between Rice, Phillips and Bellingham before this tournament, 30 maybe, with Henderson injured?). Southgate took all that pre-tournament doubt about our quality, and by the end of the tournament turned us into a squad that apparently was the best in the tournament and should be disappointed not to have won it. Were all his decisions in the final perfect? No. Is he the best tactician in football management? No. But he's managed an England squad to a better result than any other person we've had in his position in the last 55 years, so surely some credit is due?
  11. Really? In those core areas of the pitch? Interesting that the win over Germany in Euro 2000 was mentioned above, the last time we beat them in an actual tournament, but we still couldn't even make it out of the group, despite being unable to even find room in the squad for David James, Rio Ferdinand or Andy Cole, all of whom would walk into this squad (at the respective points in their careers). You honestly saying that you'd take Pickford over Seaman; Maguire, Stones, Mings and Coady over Adams, Campbell, Southgate and Keown (with Ferdinand missing the cut!); Phillips, Rice and Henderson over Ince, Gerrard and Scholes; Mount and Grealish/Foden over Beckham and Real-era McManaman; Kane, Rashford, Sterling and DCL over Shearer, Owen, Fowler, Heskey and Phillips? Like I said, there are positions (FB, AM) where we're really strong now and have better depth than ever, and this is a good squad overall, (stronger than 2014-2018 certainly) with potential for further development given their age. But the spine of the squad is no better than several others in recent memory, certainly those from the mid-90s through to about 2010.
  12. So, just out of curiosity, do you think this England team is significantly better than any team we've had in the last 25 years? We're very strong in attacking midfield and at full-back, but are we really that strong through the core of the team (GK, CB, CM, ST) compared to previous years? If you accept that the current team (or that in 2018 for that matter) isn't notably stronger, then to what do you attribute the greater level of success? I certainly wouldn't say we had an especially easy draw, (Ukraine QF aside, which we strolled), and certainly progressed far more serenely (including with wins against Croatia, Czech Rep and Germany) than in say 1990, when we were very lucky to get past Belgium and especially Cameroon and only got out of the group with a 1-0 v Egypt. If it really was in spite of Southgate, and not at least partially thanks to him, how crap was every single manager England have had since Ramsey to do even worse than Southgate?
  13. Great article that Typical of Southgate as well to say he made the decisions, so it's on him, showing how a real leader takes responsibility (as a counterweight, see Mourinho mentioning Shaw, one of the players of the tournament, in his list of senior players who 'didn't step forward'). For all people talk of Southgate's caution (I prefer to say pragmatism, but it's a fair enough charge), he's a great leader and example, and the team spirit is better now than I can ever remember, with no factions, and youth being given a chance. Are substitutions his biggest weakness? Possibly, but you'd have said the same about Rudgie. We made the final of the Euros, (and only lost on pens to arguably the best team in the world right now), and the semis of the WC, something the talented squads of the 2000s never managed, so to say it's 'in spite' of Southgate, as opposed to crediting him for any success, is nonsense.
  14. Perfect fit - young, can develop, won't necessarily expect to play every game, covers smith at RCB, competes with Gibbo at RB, Gibbo still first-choice RWB (with Woz as back-up). Also think Solanke fits the bill as a young back-up DM - don't need a ready-made player there yet as Walker first choice and Pett or Garrity can cover, so could sign him up and send him out on loan to NL for the first half of the season, get him some experience. Just a young winger and striker to sign I reckon, plus a more experienced forward if/when Theo does get a deal elsewhere (could even leave that until January rather than a last-minute panic replacement if Theo doesn't get fixed up in the next couple of weeks).
  15. In what way? The obvious conclusion from 20/21 was that the biggest weaknesses were too much reliance on aging players in the spine (including for leadership), a lack of depth/competition for places in key areas, lack of tactical flexibility, inability to manage a game, and lack of physicality (in most areas, CB excepted). DC himself answered the tactical flexibility/game management issues, as was evident on our run late last season. The clear-out and subsequent recruitment thus far, (which everyone in the club state is incomplete, but 10 have been brought in during the first half of the close season, so only 4-5 to find in the next 4-5 weeks), has addressed all of the remaining problems, with many of the signings having clearly been sounded out and/or signed up to the project very early on in the close season, if not before. We are just a couple of players away now from a very competitive 22, which is a damn sight closer than we were 6 weeks ago, or indeed 12 months ago.
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