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Favoritism: England’s Worst Enemy

Should English fans be concerned as the World Cup approaches, as their national soccer team appears to make some familiar mistakes?

English boss Gareth Southgate has been subject to claims and criticism from the fans that several England stars are granted preferential treatment. 

The World Cup is the biggest stage in football. Some top teams are still yet to find their feet heading into the World Cup, with the likes of France and Portugal producing unconvincing displays. 

Before the international break, Southgate released his squad list, which to the surprise of many, included underperforming stars Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Conor Coady, Jac Grealish, and Mason Mount.

England faithful took no time in making their feelings known as they took to Twitter to lament over the Coach’s decision:

“Shaw and Maguire make the England squad, but Sancho and Rashford don’t? Ok man lol.”

Another quipped: “How the F*** has Maguire made the ENGLAND squad?!?!?!?”

Another fan echoed this view and highlighted how Arsenal defender Ben White had been hard done by to miss out. 

They said: “How on God’s green earth do Coady and Maguire get into this squad over Ben White?”

Maguire, 29, started the Nations League game against Italy as they looked to avoid relegation into the B League of the Nations League. The United defender, alongside other stars, was not influential as the Three Lions stumbled to a 1-0 defeat confirming their place in the second tier of the competition.

Southgate publicly defended the performance of his players after the match, with Harry Maguire also taking to the press to dismiss the talks after multiple calls for his withdrawal.

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“I am working hard on the training pitch to make sure I am ready for when my opportunity comes. That is all that I can do to try and help the team.”

“I am not concentrating on anybody else and what people are saying, I think if people can make a story about me, I am Manchester United captain, it is going to make big news.”

“So, that is the reason they do it, they like the clicks, and things like that, but I went into the Euros after an eight-week injury, and did not play one game, and got into the team of the tournament.”

Three days later, England would face Germany, another European giant who hasn’t found their stride heading to the World Cup. 

Maguire was the culprit to the first two goals, giving fans more reasons to question his selection on the English side. Maguire played a loose pass to Jamal Musiala’s feet before conceding a penalty as he attempted to win the ball back.

The penalty was converted by Ilkay Gundogan. Minutes later, Harry Maguire took the ball from his half and went on a run to the opposition’s box, got dispossessed and England conceded from the resulting counter.

The Three Lions were able to wake up from their slumber to earn a 3-3 draw thanks to the introduction of Bukayo Saka and goals from Harry Kane, Mason Mount, and Luke Shaw.

Would The World Cup Ever Come Home?

This performance highlighted the need for a change to the system, player rotation, and more leadership qualities needed within the squad. England boasts multiple attacking talents but starts their games with a back five, leaving no connection between the midfield and attack.

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Despite Southgate’s fate in the squad that took the national team to the Euros final, the World Cup is a different stage and has no room for mediocrity if England wants to bring the trophy home.

England has a generational record of having the best talent, but mismanagement from the head coaches, team selections, and favoritism have been their Achilles heel.

A managerial change months before the World Cup would not be the best decision for England, but a changed style of play and proper integration of players deemed to fit the system would put them on the right track.

It would be interesting to see Gareth Southgate’s stance on Ben White, Trent Alexandre Arnold, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford, and a host of other English stars living up to expectations ahead of the World Cup.

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