On The Ball

Downward spiral of Southgate has begun with knives out for England boss

Gareth Southgate's problem is the forces of dissent and dissatisfaction the defeat unleashed. PHOTO: REUTERS
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From a distance, it must be difficult to work out why Gareth Southgate, the England manager, is under any pressure. But the man who led a desperately underperforming nation to a World Cup semi-final and to within a penalty shoot-out of winning Euro 2020 is in his weakest position since taking the job on a temporary basis back in 2016.

A 4-0 Nations League defeat by Hungary in Wolverhampton on Tuesday, the worst loss on home soil for 94 years, has plenty to do with it. And yet, it still by no means is the leading reason for the swell of support for the 51-year-old's removal. After all, the four Nations League matches played after the club season were widely agreed to be a waste of time and energy.

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