Southgate has just 59 days to turn things around before England’s World Cup begins in Qatar, but Friday’s 1-0 loss to an experimental Italy at the San Siro offered little hope.
Monday’s Nations League dead rubber against Germany at Wembley is England’s lone fixture before the World Cup.
In Milan, rather than using his final opportunity for innovation, Southgate doubled back on his ideas. He hinted he will do likewise in Qatar.
“I compromised key internal judgments, and you can’t win if you compromise,” Southgate said of England’s four-game losing streak in June, which yielded just two points and one goal.
The back three that led England to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and the final of Euro 2020 was reinstated, with Harry Maguire at the center despite his lack of playing time for Manchester United.
Despite Southgate’s assertion that the performance had vastly improved during the summer, the same issues persisted.
England were lifeless in attack, going 495 minutes without scoring from open play, and prone to concentration lapses at the back.
Once again, Southgate’s plethora of creative skill either failed to perform on the international stage or was omitted.
England and San Marino are the only two teams in this season of the Nations League without a goal from open play. England has not won in five competitive games for the first time since 1992.
Therefore, they will face Albania, Montenegro, Kazakhstan, and Georgia instead of Germany, Spain, and Italy the following time around.
England fans are most concerned about the possibility of squandering the opportunity to win a World Cup with a highly skilled team in its prime.
After a humiliating elimination from Euro 2016 at the hands of Iceland, Southgate did wonders in constructing a platform for success.
He guided his nation to its first World Cup semifinal in 28 years and its first major championship match in 55 years.
Yet, mounting evidence suggests that the zenith of his tenure as England’s manager may have passed, and that the Three Lions are about to enter a World Cup unlike any other.
“Without cohesion, shape, or belief. But it’s not surprising what occurred in Milan “wrote Henry Winter for The Times. Southgate is wasting an abundance of talented English players.
This feeling is shared by a fan base that booed their manager at the end of the game.
In his defense, Southgate cited a considerably more difficult run-up to a major tournament than his predecessors.
Eight days will pass between the final round of Premier League games and England’s World Cup opener against Iran.
A group with Wales and the United States that appears weak on paper could give Southgate’s players the time they need to rediscover their footing.
However, if the ‘Three Lions’ fail to secure even a consolation victory over Germany at Wembley, they will likely be going to the World Cup with more jeers than cheers.