Well and truly deserved, English manager Gareth Southgate is shushing his critics with some convincing and record breaking performances on the line.
There was a share of fuss about him being the luckiest manager not to face any top-notch side in WC (they defeated Tunisia, Panama, Colombia and Sweden and lost to Belgium in the group stage and eventually blown away by Croatia) and reaching the semis without being tested properly. He is now regulated to prove himself worthy of his posture in the Euro cup, after making some huge calls.
Keeping Sancho on the bench despite all the hatred and judgment he got to face, especially after that Scotland draw was tactically a bold call, but he stuck to his principles and instead of exposing himself to the media without being offended, he remained focused on achieving something bigger. They are now on the run of 7 successive clean sheets and are looking to bring it home that time out. But how he made that possible?
Luke Shaw was not in the starting 11 against Croatia in the first euro game. Rather, he favored a right footed Trippier on him at left back position. Gareth made him understand that there are stronger options than him if he didn’t play up to the standard. Shaw came back firmly. He is now the top supplier with 3 sharp, spiky assists. He also kept Sancho and Grealish on the bench for most of the group stage minutes, but when they came on to demonstrate their skills, they exploded on the opponent’s like a volcano.
To delay your standouts on a bench with any purpose is an education. But you have to comport yourself in masterful manners to get the finest out of them, otherwise they’d be Jack Wilshere’s and Kaka’s, who were frozen out by their respective clubs. The Gareth Southgate case study is a distinct representation of the cleverness of a manager on how to shuffle, rearrange, reorganize. Using your substitutes appropriately is a piece of craft.