England’s footballers don’t believe in manager Gareth Southgate and the national side’s flaws could be exposed at the World Cup, according to Joey Barton.
The team qualified for Russia 2018 as group winners, but the midfielder said this was to be expected in a group containing Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania and Malta.
“That’s what we do, we qualify,” he told Matchday Live on talkSPORT, pointing out that, although he likes Southgate, he shouldn’t be in charge of the team considering his previous experience in club football, which includes getting the sack at Middlesbrough.
“We’ll go to the major tournaments and we’ll freeze. We have a manager who is not at the required level to win a World Cup and we’ve got players who fundamentally don’t believe in that manager, and when push comes to shove, that will be exposed."
Barton also bemoaned the fact the manager’s job is no longer thought of as the pinnacle for bosses, labelling it a poisoned chalice.
“Anybody who takes it either goes to the boneyard afterwards or is never the same, reputation-wise, again.
“Think of the last England managers – Hodgson, a laughing stock; Sven-Goran Eriksson, never the same again; then there's McClaren, Capello.
“The last England manager who took the job and came out of it better was Bobby Robson. You could argue Terry Venables, but I’d say there's only been Bobby Robson – and we’re talking about 27 years ago.”
Listen to the full clip above.