Eddie Howe isn’t ready for the England me

Did you catch that brilliant game of football on Monday? It had it all - contrasting styles, quality all over the pitch, and great goalkeeping. Yes, Spain vs Italy had it all.

Oh and England lost to Iceland in one of the biggest upsets in international football for eons. That also happened. This humiliating loss for my national side resulted in the Icelandic players and fans doing an impressive clapping ritual, Roy Hodgson leaving his post as manager, and Jack Wilshere seeming to attempt to eat himself on the pitch.

Now I’ll be honest and say I initially found England’s loss quite amusing in a ‘well it can’t get any worse than this’ way. But then I became concerned, and it was because I saw this image on my television screen.

This image of the favourites to take over as England boss wasn’t unsettling due to having Gareth Southgate on it (although that is disturbing in its own unique way) - but because Eddie Howe was on it. And not just as a rank hundred to one outsider either, but joint third favourite!

So naturally I’m worried he’ll be chosen by the FA to succeed in Hodgson’s footsteps - even if it would admittedly be a somewhat outlandish choice.

I say this as I don’t think he’s right for the job at this time - I don’t believe it would work out for the England team or Eddie. As an AFC Bournemouth fan I would obviously say such things to keep him of course, but from any perspective I don’t believe Howe is the right man for the job - for now at least.

One reason is that the England team are in a bad place. Actually, that’s an understatement - they’re hated by the public, the pundits, and anyone who likes to see football played well. So more than ever is the time for a solid pair of hands at the helm, someone who knows what it’s like to be in their shoes (boots?) and can help pick them up for the World Cup qualifiers.

That man is clearly Gareth Southgate. He knows the FA inside out after working for three years as the England Under-21 manager, and knows the constant and seemingly never ending heartache of turning out for the national side.

Eddie Howe, on the other hand, is still learning his trade as a manager. He has no international football experience, and would be thrown in the deep end if he took the job - being tasked with not only building back the confidence of the players but also having to work hard to win back the fans that (quite rightly) feel hugely let down by the side.

That’s a lot to ask of a man who’s only managed one season in the Premier League - and even during that campaign I’ve seen his mask of invincibility slip at times. He does, believe it or not, posses a few flaws.

The first is that he’s very stubborn in terms of how he sets his team up, and perhaps doesn’t have the tactical flexibility required in international football - particularly in the major tournaments, where each team you play can be set up very differently. Now having a single plan would be preferred to having none at all - as we sadly witnessed in France - but still, I feel like he has a lot to learn in this area of the game.

Second is that he doesn’t seem to deal well with players with big egos. Pros like Lee Tomlin, Sylvain Distin, and Glenn Murray seem to have been cast out of the squad entirely in recent months - all because they allegedly didn’t agree with Eddie on one thing or the other.

So if he can’t deal with a lower league journeyman like Lee Tomlin, how will he deal with an England squad stuffed with more egos than a Freudian essay? My answer would be: not well.

I have no doubt he can correct these flaws, but he should be given time to work on them and become the best manager he can be. He can certainly do this at AFC Bournemouth, but as national coach his every move would be questioned and scrutinised - every mistake or strange comment leaped upon by the media. His chance to develop would be stunted and I would worry that he might never recover.

Seeing monotone bricklayer lookalike Alan Shearer pick apart a 1-0 defeat to Slovakia and calling for Eddie’s head would be too much for me to bear to be honest. So FA, if you’re reading this (and why wouldn’t you be) - don’t pluck Eddie from us just yet. Go for Gareth instead. You know it makes sense.