We’ve reached the point in the cycle when watching England is a painful, stressful affair. Gareth Southgate is nearing the end of his tenure.

For a while he took off the heavy weight of the shirt. It never lasts. It returns. The socio-political nature of England dictates this.

England is largely an unhappy place, torn apart by class, ideology, lies and tribal infighting. It is a prosperous place but not for most, only for a small downtrodden of society. People are angry. The majority is skin. We are all within 10 grand of each other in terms of income. If you earn 70 grand or more, you are wealthier than 95% of the population. How thin are we?

We have a few publicly owned institutions to hold us together, all of which have been sold off to an elite to profit from. No wonder we’re so angry. What was once our property has been stolen from us. Nor do we have a sense of respect for the leech-like royal family of history and their ridiculous traditions and embarrassingly, almost comically, blasphemous, medallion military dress. It has created a grassroots level of dissatisfaction with the country, which you rarely find in Scotland.

Football reflects this. Anger towards the manager, the feeling that he is part of the ‘whack’ elite and the players don’t care, never goes away from a fan base that is often culturally on the right wing. Recent ‘success’ has broken with tradition but old feelings have simply gone underground, gone instead, ready to re-emerge. And re-emerge to them.

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You see it more clearly when you are not in England. The level of misunderstanding is always surprising. Some, maybe even the majority, completely overrate players. The degree of flare is remarkable when viewed from outside the bubble. This is nothing but familiarity bias and Premier League propaganda.

Time and time again our players find it hard to beat teams full of players we’ve never heard of, so we assume they’re not very good. If they were, we would have heard about them, right? So the argument goes. wrong.

This worsens England’s woes as they are placed on a pedestal. The players are so desperate, how can they lose to Iceland at home? Why can’t they make their own club form for their country? If they are able to transfer that much money, they must be great, right? Well, it’s not complicated; They play with better players at club level, who can make them look better than them when they are with English players.

When he plays for England, it is the worst team he has been in. The proof is in front of our eyes. Those brainwashed into worshiping the talent of players look to the manager as a get-out clause. If only we had a good manager, the argument goes, we’d be great. But managers come and go and we’ve been at our best under the now hated Southgate, which hurts a bit, because he’s certainly not the most sophisticated tactician.

When you’re playing with Kevin De Bruyne for your club every week, England have no equal. He will put the ball in places to allow you to shine. It is repeated in many positions.

The results have been good lately, showing how far teamwork and trust can take you. And players are good when they’re performing at their peak, just not good enough to win something back-to-back. It explains everything and it is the simplest explanation. Players are not as good as we think. Without their foreign companions, they find it easy to be passive.

Recent semi-final and final positions prove how far you can go with team spirit and easy draws, but as soon as they play a good team, it’s a good night.

The end of the cycle dictates a humiliation caused by hatred and anger. It’s very predictable and Serbia, Denmark and Slovenia are just such ‘we must beat them’ sides to deliver it.

Southgate will accept the charge as usual, as many vested interests are willing to admit that players are not uniformly brilliant, so the illusion will continue that many are trying to hide or deny the truth. Try and earn a lot of money. them

So when we play Serbia, remember, this will be the worst team the XI have played all season and on that basis, we probably already have high expectations, so let’s be realistic and take any success. Welcome because difficult and surprising.

Read next: Euro 2024 power rankings: England’s realism, Scottish despair and French glory



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