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England fans’ chants against Gareth Southgate ‘not justified’ – Trevor Steven

Gareth Southgate has come under pressure during England’s poor Nations League displays (Nick Potts/PA)
Gareth Southgate has come under pressure during England’s poor Nations League displays (Nick Potts/PA)

Former England midfielder Trevor Steven believes fans were wrong to boo Gareth Southgate’s side in their 4-0 Nations League defeat to Hungary.

Supporters at Molineux vented their frustrations as the Three Lions slipped to their worst home defeat since 1928 and former Everton midfielder Steven accepts the supporters’ reaction “comes with the territory”.

Steven told Sky Sports: “No, it’s not justified. But that’s what football is like. Some people start singing that, others join in, and then it becomes a chorus.

England fans at Molineux vented their frustration during England's woeful performance against Hungary
England fans at Molineux vented their frustration during England’s woeful performance against Hungary (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“It comes with the territory when you’re England manager. You will be under extreme scrutiny and we want to see England in good form going into the World Cup.”

Steven, who made 34 England appearances between 1985 and 1992, said the Hungary defeat was “a game too far” for Southgate’s players.

“The season has just become so, so long and so intense. I know you can counter that by saying the Hungary players have also had long seasons.

“But the league our players play in is the best in the world and demanding and I think we’ve overstretched ourselves a little bit there.

“It’s a combination of that and all the changes Gareth has been looking at.

“It felt like a game too far for the squad of players really. They haven’t been in great form in this Nations League in this last two weeks.

“The players look tired. We weren’t as hungry as Hungary. They looked ready for the game and we didn’t.”

Former Liverpool and England defender Stephen Warnock does not think Southgate is the right man “to take the next step” with the Three Lions.

Warnock told BBC Sport: “Would Gareth Southgate get a job in the top six of the Premier League? This is the national team, you have to have the best manager in charge to manage them.

“I think he is a fantastic frontman for England, he speaks incredibly well, has brought the team closer, with the public, the press, he has been great, but you have to take the next step. For me I’m not sure he is the man to take that next step.”

Warnock said Southgate had done a “brilliant” job for England, but added the current crop of players should be doing better.

“This England team should dominate teams, the other team should not get a kick of the ball, they are that good, but the England team always plays on the back foot,” Warnock added.

Hungary’s players celebrate their crushing 4-0 win against England at Molineux
Hungary’s players celebrate their crushing 4-0 win against England at Molineux (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“The best managers in world football want the day to day and you would have to look at another option whether that’s someone doing a duel role for the World Cup.

“If he (Southgate) was to step aside or be relieved of his duties there would be a lot of managers interested because they would love to work with this squad.”

Another former England player, Tony Cottee, insisted Southgate must choose his best formation and stick to it.

England had an evening to forget at Molineux
England had an evening to forget at Molineux (Nick Potts/PA)

Cottee, who made the last of his seven England appearances in 1989, told talkSPORT: “It was just dreadful last night. I watched the game, I don’t get what his best team is. I don’t think Gareth knows.

“I don’t think he gets what his best formation is, more importantly, because if you know your formation you can work your players around it.

“You might be leaving good players out, but you’ve got your formation and you know what you’re going to do.

“But he plays three at the back, four at the back, five at the back.”