Gareth Southgate has said that England have only produced one World Class midfielder in the last half-a-century – Paul Gascoigne.
While England had an impressive summer campaign at the World Cup, defying all expectations to reach the semi-finals over in Russia, they did so with a relatively young and inexperienced side.
Southgate set his side up in a fairly attacking mode, with Jordan Henderson operating as the only recognised central midfielder, although whether this was by design or due to a lack of alternatives is unknown.
While England has always developed top-class talent, with the so-called ‘Golden Generation’ featuring the likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes, current England boss Southgate has said that only Gazza can be described as a truly world class, game changing midfielder.
“The only one in my lifetime is Gascoigne. And I’m not sure he was developed, I think he was a consequence of a unique talent . . . capable and willing to have the ball against any opposition.”
England’s lack of quality in the middle of the park was highlighted on Saturday night when former World Champions Spain brought their riches of midfield talent to Wembley to dominate England in their UEFA Nations League opener.
Prior to that game, former England midfielder Chris Waddle suggested that the Three Lions were in the need of a midfield ‘maverick’.