The Eddie Howe love-in is misplaced English pride

Daniel Blazer
Daniel Blazer
Daniel Blazer
Managing Editor

When the time comes to discuss who should replace Gareth Southgate as England manager – presumably after the failure to escape the group in 2018 – Eddie Howe will be the pin-up boy that the Three Lions fans will pine for across social media.

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When Germany and Spain both reevaluated their approach to international football, the footballing heavyweights found something that works. And some 10-to-15 years later, the duo have dominated the international stage, and have become the cliche answer down the pub: “Basically, Dave, just look at Germany. Do what they did. Pass the ball. We don’t do that.”… “Spain, mate; I tell you. Chicken Tikka football.”

Unlucky for Eddie Howe, the Bournemouth manager, in the eyes of the ignorant, fits the criteria that made Die Mannschaft and La Roja successful: young, implements passing football and gives youth a chance.

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When you take away Howe’s boyish good looks and charismatic media approach, you’re left with a manager who believed Jordon Ibe deserved a career in the Premier League after Liverpool realised the winger makes Theo Walcott look prolific.

Although the transfer market doesn’t come into play at international level, you can certainly take a few learnings from Howe’s approach. When it comes to the top level, can Howe really ‘spot’ a player?

Eddie Howe is a manager who is unwavering in his approach to beautiful football – which makes the Arsenal links even more appropriate – and although commendable, it’s utterly foolish from the Cherries manager.

12 times this season Bournemouth have conceded three or more goals; they’ve lost to West Ham, Middlesbrough, Sunderland, Hull City, Burnley and drawn with Crystal Palace and Watford – may as well throw in the fact they’ve lost to Preston North End in the League Cup and Millwall in the FA Cup, too.

But it’s okay, because the Cherries drew 3-3 with Arsenal – although they were 3-0 up – and beat Liverpool 4-3.

England are already pretty well-versed in being woeful defensively, so there’s no need to exacerbate the problem further.

Howe isn’t a manager who gets results, which is ultimately what England are looking to do at the international stage, to somehow find a way past the bigger and better nations. Sure, it may not be pretty, but when Greece upset the odds at Euro 2004, I doubt they cared one bit.

The sad thing is, Howe’s not pretending to be something he’s not, but the English media and fans need some remanent of hope to cling onto, and unluckily for Howe, he’s their blue-eyed boy they’ll end up crucifying.

If England go down the Howe route, they’ll be making another mistake. But thankfully they do make a few good decisions now and then, like not giving these England youth captains a senior cap!

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