“If we don’t win the Euros with this squad of players then Mr Waistcoat needs arresting for crimes against football! It’s has to come home!”
This was the hilarious verdict from talkSPORT’s Gabby Agboblahor, who was simply blown away by England’s shellacking of North Macedonia in their Euro 2024 qualifier.
Bukayo Saka’s hat-trick, two goals by Harry Kane and strikes from Marcus Rashford and Kalvin Phillips sealed the thumping 7-0 win which sees England take another big step towards Euro 2024.
Nothing is sealed yet despite the fact England have obtained a maximum 12 points at the halfway stage of their qualifying campaign but their bid to reach next summer’s finals is all-but a formality now.
It’s a far cry from this time 12 months ago when Three Lions fans were calling for his head following a Nations League humiliation at the hands of Hungary.
On that traumatic episode and how England have dealt with things since, Southgate told talkSPORT: “We learned a lot through that process but I think our performances at the World Cup and particularly since the World Cup have been outstanding.
“There’s a definite sweet spot in terms of the hunger that the team has, they’ve not got to where they want to yet, but also a confidence from the experiences that they’re having and the levels of the games that they’ve had.”
Southgate, often criticised for his ‘safe’ style of football, is never one to get ahead of himself in interviews with the media but even he admitted his players are doing all the right things.
Asked if England have the momentum to do something special, he said: “Well we’ve got to make it that way.
“We’ve made it quite clear that that’s our aim and we’re capable of doing it.
“There are other teams that are at a very high level and there are going to be some bumps on the way to doing that. You’ve got to respond and adapt to everything.
“There are good signs, we’ve got competition for places which is key because you need that. People won’t always be available so you need people who are ready to step in and carry the baton and it provokes more out of each individual when there’s someone sitting in the stand that’s desperate to get on.
“There are a lot of healthy signs but we also know that there will be harder nights than tonight.”