Gareth Southgate and the never-ending story of English football’s delusions | England

“The case against Clevinger was open and shut. The only thing missing was something to charge him with.”

And so, tossed on the familiar tides of rage, shortsightedness and good old-fashioned English exceptionalism, it becomes necessary to defend Gareth Southgate. In a way this is all quite comforting. Every England manager has two things in common: they all fail in the end, if only because there is no sane gauge of success; and they all tell us, in their own ways, exactly why England managers fail.

There are excuses that could be made for England’s wretched performance against a…

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