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England manager Gareth Southgate looks on during the UEFA Nations League match against Hungary at Molineux Stadium in Wolverhampton, central England. Hungary won 4-0 and fans are calling for Southgate to step down as coach. Image Credit: AFP

It was England’s worst home defeat in 90 years. Had it, perhaps, been inflicted by Brazil or France or the like, it might have been a tiny bit easier to swallow. But Gareth Southgate’s men were comprehensively outplayed by Hungary. And now, the coach is fighting to save his job.

Nobody saw this result coming. Sure, England had failed to win any of their three UEFA Nations League matches this summer and even though they had been shot shy, the last thing the fans expected was to be humbled 4-0 by the weakest team in their group. I can understand the frustration and anger from them following this embarrassing defeat. It is an all-new low. The team has not been playing well at all lately and have now drawn twice and lost twice from their four matches. They need to win their last two group games to avoid relegation to Group B. But are the fans right to be calling for Southgate’s head? I think not.

Cast aside

The 51-year-old cannot be cast aside due to one terrible result. We have to remember that the team he put out against Hungary was an experimental one. He was trying new players and a new system to prepare the squad for the Qatar World Cup which starts in just a matter of months. He should be applauded for trying something new in a bid to give opposition teams something different to think about when the biggest sporting event in the world kicks off because England have been in danger of becoming a tad predictable. They rely far too much on Harry Kane to get the goals and if you can stop him, you can stop England.

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Can't look... Southgate's side were thrashed by Hungary.

Southgate was trialing a new formation with a younger starting 11. He thought the youth players who were handed their chance would provide more energy to the team. This was England’s fourth games in 10 days and that too on the back of a gruelling Premier League season and it meant Southgate had to rotate heavily between fixtures. He made nine changes following the goalless draw against Italy. But, it failed and now he is facing extreme criticism for the debacle. But to want him out of the job is ludicrous and it would be detrimental to the team.

Doing well

The last time England were properly hammered at home was way back in 1928 when Scotland won 5-1. We are talking a very, very long time ago. And up until last night, the team has been doing really well. They got to the semi-final of the World Cup in 2018 and were beaten in the Euro 2020 final on penalties by the Italians. Southgate is responsible for guiding the team almost to glory in both tournaments and he has bloodied several youngsters along the way and improved many other players on the international scene. Since taking charge of the Three Lions in 2016 he has been a key part of transforming them into one of the most successful sides of the past 50 years. He deserves credit for the job he is doing. Wanting him out now with the World Cup on the horizon would be a huge mistake. It would be a gamble that England just cannot take.

They need a steady camp if they are to do well. Fans can’t expect a new manager to come in and wave a magic wand and make everything ok. That doesn’t work in football. It doesn’t work in life. Time, patience and trust is needed now more than ever. Southgate has improved the team massively in his time as coach. You have to look at the bigger picture and not base a decision on just one poor result. This is not the time to panic and chop and change. Southgate must be backed because if he is not it will set the team back years.

If he is sacked they can forget the World Cup. Even getting out of the group will be near impossible with a new coach in charge who would not know his best first 11. England have two more games in September to try to build some confidence before they head to Qatar and in my mind Southgate must be the man leading them for those. They have had two fantastic tournaments in a row and it could be third time lucky - if they choose to stick with him, rather than twist...