England need to make some brave decisions, not going to Qatar and picking Ivan Toney ahead of Harry Kane for a start!

The World Cup is only just over a year away and we’ve yet to hear from England’s articulate coach or any of his senior players about playing football in a suspect nation like Qatar.

By Alan Swann
Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 10:14 am
Ivan Toney. Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images.
Ivan Toney. Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images.

Gareth Southgate has said plenty about his support for ‘taking the knee’ before matches and any gesture aimed at combating racism is to be applauded.

But Qatar is a hotbed of discrimination and ‘structured racism against migrants’ according to the United Nations so why the silence, particularly from a man happy to offer his opinion on anything from vaccines to support for ‘Black Lives Matter’.

Bluntly the World Cup shouldn’t be going anywhere near a country where homosexuality is illegal so what a courageous statement it would be for England to decline to take their place at the tournament.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Harry Kane playing for England against Hungary. Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images.

They will go of course which could open them up to claims they are happy to support anti-discrimination as long as it doesn’t interfere with their pursuit of glory and riches.

World Cup qualification

What a tedious process it’s been. Sport needs tension, excitement and uncertainty to create interest and there has been none whatsoever in England’s monotonous march to Qatar.

I greeted disappointing draws with Hungary and Poland with indifferent shrugs as they were meaningless and merely delayed the inevitable.

I’m currently more likely to watch games involving Scotland and Wales than England. They are poor teams, but their games with Israel and the Czech Republic were outstanding spectacles because the teams were well matched.


I know I’m biased, but what a great opportunity the match at Andorra would have been to give former Posh star Ivan Toney a first England cap.

But that would have taken imagination from a coach who has none.

I’m sure Southgate used to pick players in form for his squads, but then he selected Jesse Lingaard and Jadon Sancho. He’ll have to abandon that policy (if it ever really existed) or he’ll have to drop his captain Harry Kane.

What a sorry performer Kane has been this season, a pale shadow of the ruthless goal machine of previous years. It can’t be easy sitting in a terrible Spurs squad when he spent the summer dreaming of titles and trophies at Manchester City, but then no-one forced him to sign a six-year contract.

Kane needs to stop sulking and start performing at club level and for his country. No-one wants to rely on Raheem Sterling for England goals.


Watching the classy Nations League finals involving Spain, Belgium, Italy and France made me even angrier a lack of coaching ambition ruined England’s chances of winning the Euros in the summer.

There will never be a better chance of landing a major prize.