Editorial: are you watching Southgate?

After the well-earned victory against Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday night, many keen observers were quick to point out the presence of the England manager Gareth Southgate in the stands taking an eye over proceedings.

 Talk of the Town outline what player we think should be paid more attention to in the weeks and months to come.


Who was he there to watch and did they impress?

Many would argue that given the failure of some of England’s more established centre-halves to nail down a starting berth, Southgate was at the game to watch Brighton’s Lewis Dunk.

Squad regulars like Manchester United’s Chris Smalling and Chelsea’s Gary Cahill have made indifferent starts to their respective Premier League campaigns whilst Dunk has impressed after a string of resolute performances at the heart of Brighton’s defence alongside Shane Duffy.

Izzy Brown’s failure to cause any great amount of problems for Town’s defence should ensure he is still called up for the U-21s in the summer.

Other players that Southgate might have been watching like Tom Ince and Tommy Smith are probably not on his radar right now.

The former will not be getting a call-up because of a lack of goals (despite good performances) and other top-class players in front of him in the queue.

Smith also has a long way to go before he gets a call-up due to a lack of consistent performances. He also has competitors like Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and Nathaniel Clyne to get in front of.

However, Talk of the Town believes that Southgate should have used the game to take a closer look at the performance of a certain Jonathan Hogg.

The recently turned 29 year old is in the best form of his career right now.

His leadership qualities are irreplaceable and indispensable for any club and his performances so far this season means he is certainly worth mentioning for a spot on the plane to Russia.

Given the current incumbents in the holding midfield position in the England team of Jake Livermore, Jordan Henderson and Eric Dier, could anyone say with certainty he is an inferior player to any of those mentioned above?

So far this season, Eric Dier has been in and out of the Tottenham team where he has faced growing competition for places from Harry Winks, Moussa Dembele and Victor Wanyama.

Jake Livermore has not pulled up trees since his move to West Bromwich Albion and Jordan Henderson continues to divide opinion across Merseyside.

Jonathan Hogg’s combative playing style, leadership prowess and high-pressing work ethic should be a perfect fit in Gareth Southgate’s 4-2-3-1 formation or a 4-3-3- formation.

His presences as a defensive pivot can allow players like Adam Lallana and Dele Alli the creative freedom to create chances and score goals whilst protecting our defensive shape.


It is Talk of the Town’s view that if Hogg continues to put in these types of performances, especially against the so-called bigger clubs, Southgate will find it more and more difficult to ignore him.

This young England squad are crying out for more experienced, older heads and leaders when the chips are down in major tournaments and our man-of-steel Jonathan Hogg could certainly provide that.

Whether Southgate heeds this advice will be down to how much regard he has for our ‘little’ club. It certainly won’t be the media who put the idea of calling him up into his head.   

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