Former England international Joey Barton has called for Gareth Southgate to be sacked following the Three Lions’ quarter-final exit from the World Cup, saying “it’s time to stop rewarding failure [and] time to hire somebody who can win.”
England outplayed reigning world champions France for parts of their last-eight clash on Saturday but captain Harry Kane’s missed penalty six minutes from time cost them dearly in a 2-1 defeat.
Southgate took over as Three Lions boss after a disastrous Euro 2016 exit to Iceland and Sam Allardyce’s subsequent one-match reign and has rehabilitated the image and results of the national team. England reached the semi-finals at the 2018 World Cup during his first tournament in charge, then made their first major final for 55 years at Euro 2020 before the loss to the holders in Qatar over the weekend.
Southgate – who has a contract to the end of Euro 2024 – has said he feels ‘conflicted’ about whether to stay on as manager and is wary of making the wrong call but Barton, who played one game for England in 2007 and is now manager of mid-table League 1 side Bristol Rovers, is adamant he should be sacked.
Writing on Twitter, the outspoken 40-year-old, claims the boss is at fault for the Three Lions not winning each of the last three tournaments and also referenced the Pizza Hut advert that Southgate filmed in the aftermath of his crucial penalty miss in the Euro 96 semi-final defeat to Germany.
In the advert, Southgate is sat around a table with a bag on his head and is reminded of his miss by Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle, who both failed to score in the penalty shootout defeat to West Germany at the 1990 World Cup. Southgate has since said he regrets filming the advert as it looked like he was ‘cashing in’ on the shootout failure.
“Can’t believe Southgate hasn’t resigned yet. That’s two World Cups and a home European Championship we could/should have won,” tweeted Barton.
“Stop rewarding failure. Got to go. Time to hire somebody who can win. Pizza Hut advert years ago. Enough said.”
Then, replying to another Twitter user who posted a screenshot of Southgate’s recent win-loss record as Three Lions boss, Barton doubled down.
He wrote: “Time for him to move on. You have to win. He’s a nice guy but he isn’t a winner. When he put Pizza Box on his head after missing the pen, he was done with. No self respecting man would ever do that. Sorry. He’s had his time. Move him on.”
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