Gareth Southgate flips switch at right time to show his worth for England | Barney Ronay

A tactical tweak against Wales turned England into fun entertainers and for that Southgate deserves huge credit

In praise of Gareth. Can we take a moment to do this now? Can we just suck that sweetness down? Because this was a very good game for England and their manager, a manager who has, for all his success, his status as pretty much the most sensible person currently active in English public life, had a weirdly vitriolic year and a half.

It was a good game for Gareth Southgate because England were bad at first, and then they were good, and good thanks to a stroke of tactical switchery that broke the game open. It was good because players Southgate brought in ended the night playing with freedom; Marcus Rashford romping like a cosseted puppy, spanking England’s opening goal into the top corner then celebrating with something that felt, and indeed was, a kind of catharsis, the feeling of a breaking wave.

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