That’s the opinion of Richard Keys, who has slammed Southgate for being ‘a bit too clever’ and labelled the loss a ‘wasted opportunity’.
The Three Lions lost 3-2 in a nail-biting penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw with the Blues at Wembley Stadium on Saturday night as the country’s wait for a major trophy since the 1966 World Cup continues.
And Keys believes Southgate’s tactical inexperience is what is holding England back at the moment.
‘Truth is – it was a wasted opportunity. England should’ve won it. You won’t read this elsewhere – but it’s true,’ he wrote in his now infamous blog.
‘They had home advantage. Home crowd. No travel (apart from the trip to Rome). But they only played in fits and starts…
‘I’m not convinced that Southgate ever had any idea what his best team was. Why all the chopping and changing? This was put down to ‘tactical nous’ by the Press boys. No it wasn’t. It was a mess…
‘There’s no doubt that England have made strides in the right direction. It hasn’t happened overnight and it hasn’t happened because of Gareth Southgate…
‘There’s no question that Southgate is a nice man – but to win at the highest level that isn’t a tool required. He’s worked hard and thrown himself at his job.
‘But I’d change it now – or what happened at Wembley will happen again in Qatar – but long before the final.’
Italy vs England Final Highlights | Euro 2020
Southgate’s men became the first England team to reach a major final in 55 years after beating Denmark 2-1 in extra-time at Wembley but Keys has criticised his decision-making – pointing out his bizarre call to bring on Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho in extra-time of the final.
‘The whole tournament smacked of Southgate being just a bit too clever. Even the penalties were over thought. I felt for Rashford and Sancho – deemed not good enough to play a part in 120 minutes – but asked to go and make fools of themselves in a shoot out.
‘Sorry. That was poor. So they were the best in training? So what? Your first touch of the ball on the night is a pen? No thanks. It was an impossible task. Too clever Gareth…
‘I can’t see England going any further with Southgate. It it was my choice I’d move heaven and earth to persuade Arsene Wenger to take it.’
Wenger is one of a select group of managers to have won the domestic double twice – both with Arsenal – but has been out of a job since leaving the Emirates in 2018.
During his 22 years with Arsenal he won 17 trophies, including three Premier League titles, seven FA Cups and seven Community Shields.