I have been critical of Gareth Southgate in the past, and I’m not one of those who blindly rate him as a manager. But credit where it’s due, and today, he is due some credit. Seriously though, I never thought I’d be writing that title for an article!
I’ve always held the belief that this group of England players we have had now for around the last 3 years have been the best group I have ever personally witnessed, a group with so much talent and promise, especially in attack. But I’ve always felt that under Southgate, we have always been far too negative and he has never really got the best out of them, or at least what I think a more progressive and positive manager would get out of them.
Playing a back five and two defensive midfielders in a pivot alongside each other has always been painful for me to watch, and simply using so many defensive players in his setups previously. But today against Iran, England won 6-2 and we saw something fresh and new from Southgate, a 4-3-3 attacking line-up using one defensive midfielder, and my god how refreshing that was.
England were fantastic and scored six goals. Granted, the opposition were poor, but this is how England need to setup, and it is also what Chelsea need to be pushing towards now.
Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling were both fantastic for England today, playing in their natural positions. Mount was in the 8 role, and Sterling was playing wide left. It comes as no surprise to see that they both thrived in their best positions, and Graham Potter needs to take note, of that and of the formation and setup, because this is what he needs to bring to Chelsea.
We don’t have a true DM at Chelsea yet, but once we get them, this is what we need to be looking to use as a mainstay starting line-up, the 4-3-3 and building an exciting attacking team that can be devastating in front of goal, but with needed protection behind them. This is exactly what England had with Declan Rice today, and Chelsea need to build towards this now, in my humble opinion.