“I thought it was a good performance. For large periods I can be more than satisfied”. No, not the words of Gareth Southgate after England’s 1-0 loss to Germany in midweek, but those of Roy Hodgson some four and a half years ago after another friendly defeat, on that occasion away at Sweden, as the then Three Lions manager looked for the positives.
Wales supporters might still be basking in the glow of their team’s astonishing achievement of reaching the European Championships semi-finals last year, but hard-nosed bookmakers are having none of the romanticism of those halcyon days in France.
Most people have to wait until Christmas morning before gleefully unwrapping their presents. Not Gareth Southgate though, he got to open his a whole month early last year when he received a lovely, gift-wrapped four-year contract as England manager c/o The Football Association.
Have a lie-in. Cook a fry-up. Sit back on the sofa all afternoon to watch three spectacular Premier League matches in succession. Your Sunday is sorted! Here is our football guru Adrian Clarke with a look ahead to what promises to be a season-defining day…
Flat-lining Middlesbrough will be hoping for a Shakespearian spike in the Leicester City mould after giving boss Aitor Karanka the chop this week.
Whether they go from being rubbish to a revelation in the space of days (like the Foxes) is perhaps too much to ask, but the timing of the Spaniard’s dismissal is potentially bad news for Jose Mourinho, the man who used to mentor the departed coach.