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The Warm-Up: 'Look at our history of failure,' roars Gareth Southgate

The Warm-Up: 'Look at our history of failure,' roars Southgate

21/03/2017 at 08:07Updated 21/03/2017 at 08:38

Plus: Vardy receives death threats, and Bastian Schweinsteiger is finally set free


Southgate gives his players a history lesson

International week! Yes! It’s what you’ve all been waiting for! It’s the time of the season where everyone can briefly shut off from football, get on with everything else in their lives and then one day turn on the TV and say “Oh, England are playing. I had no idea.”

Obviously for others this is a very serious business, particularly Gareth Southgate who takes charge of his first England games as permanent manager, as the brave boys face Germany in Dortmund on Wednesday and Lithuania at Wembley on Sunday.

And Southgate has prepared his players for these great tasks by showing them a clip from England’s, and his own, history. Yes indeed, the rousing method he chose to give his players a pep up was to remind them that England are terrible in high-pressure situations, screening a clip of his penalty miss in the Euro 96 semi-final against Germany.

“It was a very powerful message,” said James Ward-Prowse about the video and accompanying speech, also saying Southgate did similar when he was under-21 manager. And in, fairness, they did pretty well, so perhaps it might just work.

We wonder if he followed it up with his stellar performance in that Pizza Hut advert, too.

Vardy receives death threats

Football, as we know, is great. There’s nothing like it. Its importance cannot be denied when it makes us all feel this sense of community, when we all devote large portions of our lives to watching it, to travelling around with it, to spending so much money on it. But, of course, there’s a limit.

England striker Jamie Vardy says he has received death threats following Claudio Ranieri's Leicester sacking.

England striker Jamie Vardy says he has received death threats following Claudio Ranieri's Leicester sacking.PA Sport

Jamie Vardy has revealed this week that he has received death threats for apparently being one of the “snakes” who deliberately didn’t try hard enough for Claudio Ranieri and got him sacked at Leicester. The perception was that for reasons unclear the Leicester players decided they weren’t keen on the Italian anymore, and risked relegation by downing tools.

“The story is out there, then people pick it up and jump on it and you’re getting death threats about your family, kids, everything,” Vardy said. “I try to get on with it but when people are trying to cut your missus up while she’s driving along with the kids in the back of the car it’s not the best. It’s happened plenty of times. It is terrifying.”

Football doesn’t matter that much.

Schweinsteiger to leave Manchester United

Hot, hot, hot off the internet presses, and as the Warm-Up lovingly puts together this slice of piping hot morning action for you, word reaches us that Bastian Schweinsteiger’s hell is over, and he has been set free from Manchester United.

The veteran midfielder will join MLS side Chicago Fire (which we’re sure was a late-90s American drama, but apparently it’s a football team now) with immediate effect, signing a one-year deal with the club.

“I’ve always sought opportunities where I hoped to make a positive impact and to help make something great,” said Schweini.

God speed, Bastian, and may you continue to take passive-aggressive selfies outside the ground of your new club should you be dropped from the team.


Mario has another clothing malfunction

Haven’t heard from Mario Balotelli for a while? Well, here he is, providing social media fodder for us grateful souls who lap up content like nobody’s business. In Nice’s game against Nantes over the weekend, Balotelli was forced to spend the opening two minutes of the game being helped to tie his bootlaces, after he had initially done them just too tight. What a world.


Prandelli could be waiting a while

While it’s nice that some managers have a moral code these days, we can’t help but feel one manager morally objecting to a club who were heading for relegation dismissing their manager is rather absurd. The idea that people should boycott Leicester on the basis that Ranieri was treated shoddily is a lovely and sentimental one, but Leicester were spiralling under his management this season, so what were they supposed to do? If Prandelli decides to only do business with clubs who treat badly-performing managers with the greatest kindness, he might be tending to his garden for quite some time.


"As a section of Arsenal fans now chant about Arsene Wenger killing their club, it’s difficult not to question a loss of perspective when, less than five miles away, supporters are fighting a far more pressing battle. The Leyton Orient Fans’ Trust (LOFT) are working tirelessly to ensure a future – any future – for their club, but also to keep busy, like cleaning the house in the week before a funeral."


England v Germany conjures up all sorts of evocative images. The 1966 World Cup final. The 1970 second round. The Euro 96 semi-final. And then of course there’s the friendly staged in America in the summer of 1993. You remember the one, right? No? Remind thyself.


Eeesh, slim pickings. There are a few games in Leagues One and Two, if you like that sort of thing, and the ‘stand-out’ seems to be the Infinite Sadness Derby between Port Vale (in danger of relegation) and Coventry (relegation certainties, in danger of evaporating as a football club), if you want to be thoroughly depressed about life. Or you could watch some old episodes of Seinfeld or something.

Tomorrow’s Warm-Up will be brought to you by Alex Chick, who coincidentally also dances with the little kicks and the thumbs.