“I don’t like to see individuals suffer as publicly as he has but, I repeat, what he said wasn’t acceptable and there was no alternative but for him to go.”
Time is precious on international get-togethers, yet Southgate felt the FA’s new diversity code was important enough to spend a training session discussing the implications.
Then, just 24 hours later, another slot was spent with him outlining how Clarke had just bulldozed over every subtle nuance of what the project was designed to achieve.
When does Southgate find the time to talk about tactics?
In fairness, it is a game he could do without. Once New Zealand pulled out of the friendly slot, it was only UEFA forcing England to take on a replacement fixture so they were not too fresh for Sunday’s Nations League clash with Belgium that forced Southgate to put his battle-weary players through yet another fixture.
“The bigger picture here is that governing bodies, broader authorities need to work together,” he said. “We have a winter World Cup in two years. There was an opportunity this year to think differently.