After a torrid international season which saw #England dumped out of Euro 2017 by international minnows Iceland and the ensuing fiasco that was Sam Allardyce's short-lived appointment, England find themselves 13th in FIFA's world rankings.
To put this place into perspective the England international team is behind teams such as Columbia (7th), Switzerland (11th) and Wales (12th).
Southgate is critical
On receiving the news, the new England manager Gareth Southgate, admitted that 13th is simply not acceptable with the talent and potential he has at his disposal. His record at the moment stands at 2 wins and 2 draws from his four games in charge with games against Germany and Lithuania to come in March.
Southgate firmly believes that England should not rest until The Three Lions are 'at the top' of the rankings. He has stated that even second is not good enough and the team has to be the best they can be and that should be number one.
Small margins at top level
Southgate knows only too well how small the margins are between success and failure as he was part of the team that promised so much in Euro 96 but went out in the semi finals in a penalty shoot out against old foes Germany.
Improve mental toughness
Part of his plan to improve the current set up is to improve the team's mental strength. Critics rallied on England at the recent #Euros as they collapsed against Iceland and looked devoid of ideas and how to react when things started to go wrong.
One thing that Southgate is keen to work on is to get players more involved in the tactical preparation ahead of a game. In an interview with Radio 5 Live he said the key for him is for teams to arrive at tournaments mentally prepared and arriving as favorites.
He has also been critical of the lack of leadership on the field in recent years with the mantle of leader falling to individuals like Wayne Rooney and John Terry. He has made comparisons with the team of 96 where five or six player s were captains of their club and that leadership was transferred onto the pitch.
The way forward
It certainly seems that Southgate has the right ideas to take this England team forwards, and with world cup qualifiers coming up in March and June and a few friendlies against tough opposition, it will be interesting to see if he can make it count. #Gareth Southgate