Gareth Southgate opens England door to Championship players, Sunday League players, fictional players, horses
England boss Gareth Southgate has lamented the lack of homegrown talent in the Premier League and conceded he will have to consider players without top-flight experience, players without any experience and players who with even a little research clearly don’t exist.
Despite an encouraging World Cup campaign, English national team players have been short of game time again this season in the Premier League, leaving Southgate lacking options for his latest squad to take on Spain and Switzerland.
The visibly weary Three Lions tactician admitted in today’s press conference that he was struggling to find 11 English players who had taken part in a full 90 minutes of football.
“The reality is that at this stage I have to be open to anyone who is excelling in the Championship,” Southgate told FourFourTwo.
“In fact, I have to be open to anyone who is doing fine in the Championship, or League One, or someone who can send me a video of them skinning someone in a Sunday League game.”
The Race is on
Southgate surprised the press corps by readily admitting that Roy Race and his less-vaunted team-mate Blackie Gray were options due to their form for Melchester Rovers, despite emphasising that he was well aware that the club and the players were entirely fictional entities.
“Look, Roy [of the Rovers] is a proven goal-getter and we’ve been lacking that kind of outlet,” Southgate insisted.
“There will be those who say he’s too old now as he’s getting on for 80, and also those who point out that he’s a comic strip character, but it’s either that or we create a system where English teams develop talent and trust young players in big matches.”
More Back of the Net
Astute members of the press corps noted that Southgate was holding a pad of paper with a teamsheet that included Dele Alli six times and ‘advert on Gumtree?’ written in the margin.
“I don’t think we can absolutely rule out horses,” Southgate admitted with a sigh, scribbling ‘horses?’ on his pad. “England’s full of horses.
“I’m just spitballing here, obviously, but I’d love to see Spain try to deal with a marauding thoroughbred.”
Southgate then left his press conference abruptly, pulling on a pair of jodhpurs.
Please note: This is a satirical story we're just trotting out for fun – obviously.