The coach of England’s men’s team laughingly disclosed that he was tired of fighting criticism from outsiders.
If there is any coach who has swallowed a good share of bitter pills in the form of harsh opinions from his country, it was Coach Gareth Southgate.
‘Well, the reality of that is however well we play tomorrow people will just say it’s a lower ranked opponent, so it’ll be irrelevant,’ said Southgate recently.
‘People are going to have opinions. I’m probably tired of trying to fight that.
‘In the end, it will be what it is. So, I’ll just let our results and performances speak for themselves.
‘You’re never going to please everybody, so the best way as a football manager is keep winning matches, frankly.’
Southgate’s decision to use Jordan Henderson and Harry Maguire in the World Cup qualifiers came under fire a few weeks ago, along with the bad results his choice of Maguire delivered.
When he was asked recently how it felt to exclude players from the team, Southgate replied, ‘It’s always difficult. Given the number of injuries and pull-outs, we’ve not had to make so many this time, but it’s part of being a manager to make difficult calls.
‘As a player, you never agreed with a manager’s decision to leave you out but you only hope you do it in as respectful a way as possible, with constructive points so they can go away and work on things.
‘We’re blessed to have so much depth in certain positions.
‘You always have to adapt as you never know what’s going to come your way. We’ve lost more players than normal – and there are some long-term injuries too – but there are opportunities for those coming in.
‘We’re looking for the right balance from the qualities we have but also have the right structure behind that.’