Colin Lee: Late goal dramas - managing the situation

England manager Gareth Southgate during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying match at PGE Narodowy Sta

England manager Gareth Southgate during the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying match at PGE Narodowy Stadium, Warsaw - Credit: PA

Having watched the England-Poland game, it brought back memories of a similar situation I found myself in when managing Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Poland’s stoppage-time equaliser in Warsaw earned a 1-1 draw with England as England surrendered their 100 per cent record in World Cup qualifying.

It was reported that losing leads is a problem for Gareth Southgate’s team.

In all, three tournaments that England have contested under Southgate have ended in defeat after being 1-0 up midway through the second half.

There was the painful World Cup semi-final loss to Croatia, a game England led for over an hour before wilting.

The less remembered National League semi-final defeat to Netherlands followed a very similar pattern. Leading at half-time before losing in extra time.

Against Italy in the summer, there was another early goal and another lead lost, with Southgate waiting for the equaliser before making changes.

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England made it to the shoot-out but the outcome was the same.

The draw in Warsaw was not of that magnitude but it was their biggest competitive test prior to next year’s World Cup in Quatar and it follows the same trend.

I was impressed with England on the night, totally dominating the second half and the lead was deserved but the reoccurring concern reappeared.

I experienced a similar problem when managing Wolverhampton Wanderers FC where we lost the lead in the dying minutes of consecutive games.

I felt the players needed help to manage the final stages of the game and made a decision to have a substitution plan in place - which we worked on in training - before each game where we introduced substitutions in the final 10 minutes in an attempt to take the momentum out of the game and to introduce a more compacted formation without inviting pressure.

Following the decision, if we were leading in games - regardless of the score - this understanding was implemented and we very rarely conceded goals in the final stages of games and the players understood and accepted the decisions.

Making decisions as a football manager is not always easy but having now witnessed several games where England have surrendered the lead, it is obvious that they don’t have the knowhow to hold on to these leads.

Therefore, in my opinion, Gareth needs to implement a substitution understanding in the final stages of the games regardless of the score to help the players manage and see out games.

Top 10 boot sponsorship deals

It was interesting to come across the biggest boot deals in football with Puma’s record-breaking agreement with Neymar to Renaldo’s contract with Nike:

1 NEYMAR £23m - Neymar signed a world-record Puma boot deal after helping Paris Saint-Germain to their first ever Champions League final a year ago. That left his rivals in his wake as he signed a contract worth £23 million per year... yes, £23m per year!

2 MESSI £18m - Messi, the second footballer to become a billionaire - the first was Cristiano Ronaldo - is second on the boot deal receiving £18m per year having signed an extension to his boot contract deal with Adidas – giving him a lifetime contract with the company.

3 RONALO £15m - As Nike's prized asset, Ronaldo is their top earner receiving £15m per year.

4 MBAPPE £14m - Nike’s poster-boy in 2019, Kylian Mbappe was a subject of a bidding war between his current sponsors and Adidas. It is reported he penned a 10-year deal worth £140m, which is believed to remain active provided he plays in a top league.

5 BALOTELLI £5m - Italian golden boy Mario Balotelli has a 10-year deal with Puma worth around £5m per year.  

6 BALE £4m - Gareth Bale, the Welsh wizard who earns around £18m per year from Real Madrid, has exclusive sponsorship deals with the likes of EA Sports, Lucozade and Adidas to name a few. It’s his contract with Adidas that is his most lucrative earning him around £4m per annum. 

7 GRIEZMANN, £3.5m - In 2015, Antoine Griezman extended his boot deal with Puma to the tune of £3.5m per year. In that time, he became a global superstar- leaving Athletico Madrid for Barcelona in a deal worth £108m - although now he is back in the Spanish capital. In 2019 to celebrate Griezmann’s 10-year anniversary with Puma, they released his special boot - a limited edition Future 4.1 NETFIT Grizi priced at £229. He was one of Puma’s golden boys and headline players until Naymar came along.

8 POGBA, £3m - The Manchester United midfielder has a 10-year contract with Adidas worth around £30m which doesn’t expire till 2024. Pogba appears in almost every TV ad the brand brings to our screens, he also appears on every poster advertising the latest Predator boots.

9 VERATTI, £2.5m - The PSG midfield player’s contract with Puma expired in 2017. Eventually, he signed a massive deal with Nike - lacing up a pair of the Hypervenom Phantom lll’s. It’s not known the length of the deal. However, £2.5m per year is not to be sneezes at.

10 SALAH, £2.5m - The Liverpool forward has become one of the most marketable faces in the game, especially in Africa and the Middle East. Sponsored by Adidas, alongside lucrative deals with Pepsi and Vodafone in Egypt. It sees Mo Salah wear the X18 football boots, receiving £2.5m per year.

Makes my £500 per year boot sponsorship with Admiral while playing for Spurs a little pathetic but it did buy our first dining room furniture.