Stephen Varanko III: Will football come home under Southgate
My buddy Stephen Varanko III and I were in the USA for the duration of the World Cup last year and we were blown away by just how good the England National Team were. When Gareth Southgate was first appointed I must confess that I really didn’t think much of his chances, yet he surprised me just like everyone else during his time in Russia with the team. Throughout the World Cup we got caught up in the ‘football’s coming home’ buzz just like everyone else and whilst we may not have won the trophy, there was more than a lot to be excited about. The big question is then, will Gareth Southgate eventually bring a trophy home for the nation, I believe so, and here is why.
For so many years England fans were calling out for players to be selected on form and not their status or their experience. We always knew that we needed to strike a fine balance between experience and youth and this is just what Southgate has done. It’s important to remember that players such as Kane, Sterling and Barkley are still very young players, despite the length of time which they have been playing. These pros coupled with hungry young players like Sancho, Chillwell and Hudson-Odoi is exactly what England have needed for a long time.
There is absolutely no shame in England losing in the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia and what it has done is reinvigorate a nation and given those players some great experience at how to manage a big tournament like this. Throughout the tournament we managed to win 2 penalty shootouts, a common woe for the English, and this along with advancing such a long way will have done wonders for those young players.
The media is so powerful in England that they do have the ability to shape the form and fortune which players have. For many years the relationship between England and its press was fractured to say the least but Southgate has put an end to all of that. Southgate’s approach is to allow the press freedom of access, so long as they respect that access and don’t abuse it. The World Cup was the perfect example of how well Southgate has managed to bridge that gap.
There is no use in giving young players a chance if they aren’t very good, a problem which Southgate doesn’t have to contend with. Thanks to managers like Pochettino and Guardiola, to name just a couple, we have some expectational talents for the future in players like Winks, Foden, Sancho, Hudson-Odoi and Alexander-Arnold, all of whom could reach the very top of world football. This future, plus the likes of Kane, Sterling, Alli, Lingard, Barkley and Maguire, is exactly why we should all be optimistic about the future of English football.
I predict England to win the European Championships in 2020, or the World Cup in Qatar in 2022, perhaps even both, one thing is for sure, Southgate is bringing it home.