Gareth Southgate has done a lot of things right since becoming England manager in 2016.
He took over a Three Lions side at its lowest ebb, fresh off of a humiliating tournament exit at the hands of a country with a smaller population than Bristol, and a scandal involving a pint of wine.null
England are unrecognisable from that omnishambles these days, reaching a World Cup semi-final and European Championship final under Southgate. A golden generation of players has played a significant role in this rise, sure, but the manager deserves huge credit too.
His statesman-like media handling, modern man management and even his much-maligned pragmatic tactics have all contributed to this turnaround.
However, incredibly really when you realise we are only a few months removed from the Euro 2020 final, the jury is still out on Southgate. His critics are always looking for a stick to beat him with and while the majority of this negativity is unwarranted, the naysayers would have had a field day when watching England stutter to a 1-1 draw against Poland on Wednesday night.
At the end of the day, these dropped points do not matter with the Three Lions only needing to beat Albania, San Marino and Andorra to qualify.
What it did show, though, was Southgate’s lack of proactivity on the touchline. Instead of stifling Poland’s renewed vigour with his own subs he remained passive. It was another example of the tactical naivety that has already cost England dearly in the past.