‘A waste of time’ - Liverpool legend slams Southgate’s choices against Brazil

England manager Gareth Southgate (Imago/Every Second Media)


Gareth Southgate has been fiercely censured since England's loss to Brazil (Imago/Every Second Media)

‘A waste of time’ - Liverpool legend slams Southgate’s choices against Brazil

Seye Omidiora 11:13 - 25.03.2024

The England manager’s selection and tactics against Brazil have been criticised by former Reds defender Steve Nicol.

Gareth Southgate has come under more scrutiny after England’s 1-0 loss to Brazil, continuing the criticism of the Three Lions boss since Saturday’s defeat at Wembley Stadium.

England vs Brazil

Despite being without Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka, while losing Kyle Walker and Harry Maguire to injuries in the loss, England played against a more understrength opponent.

The game was heading towards a stalemate before Real Madrid-bound Endrick netted in the 80th minute. The teenager’s historic goal at the Home of Football settled ended the Selecao’s four-match winless run — including three defeats on the trot — to hand Dorival Junior a win on his first game in charge of the five-time world champions.

The aftermath has seen Southgate fiercely criticised and defended, but Steve Nicol let rip at the former Middlesbrough boss.

Liverpool legend Steve Nicol pictured in 2008 (Imago/Icon Sportswire) Steve Nicol has criticised Gareth Southgate after England's loss to Brazil (Imago/Icon Sportswire)

What Nicol said about Southgate and England

Nicol, named the 1988-89 Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year while representing Liverpool, on Sunday, slammed Southgate’s personnel choices and tactics against Brazil on the ESPN FC daily show.

“I understand, even though it’s against Brazil at Wembley, nobody looks forward to friendlies,” said Nicol in response to the show’s anchor Dan Thomas. “For me, the manager should do something to make it interesting. He should try something.

“For example, playing Conor Gallagher beside Declan Rice, we know that going into the tournament, there’s going to be two sitting in front of the back four that are going to be defensive-minded.

Gareth Southgate
England manager Gareth Southgate (Imago/Every Second Media)

“Why don’t you try and look a bit further forward and stick Bellingham beside Rice and have Maddison playing or bring Foden from the wide area and bring him in the middle and try something? And if you lose, it’s just a friendly.

“Again, why are you playing Harry Maguire? He’s going to start at the Euros. It’s a friendly, try a new player out at the back, try and do something in the middle of the park.

“You can make it not a waste of time for everybody because that’s what this was.”

What comes next for Southgate and England?

Southgate may have been linked with the Manchester United job, but the England manager is gearing up for this summer’s European Championship in Germany. The Three Lions’ tournament begins against Serbia on June 16 as they hope to claim the finals for the first time in the nation’s history.

England host Belgium on Tuesday, seeking a return to winning ways after Saturday’s defeat.