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There’s a rush to negative judgement over Southgate and his squad but it’s Shelvey and Wilshere he’s leaving at home, not Gazza and McManaman… plus, why what happened in Hong Kong should have stayed in Hong Kong

Sorry to say it will be the same old England. Hopeless. Once upon a time people thought Wayne Rooney was our Diego Maradona or Pele – but he was also hopeless for England. Uncle Ben, London.

No, he wasn’t. Had he stayed fit in the quarter-final with Portugal I think it quite possible England would have gone on to win the 2004 European Championship. Had he not got injured, I’m sure England would have done better in the 2006 World Cup and qualified for the 2008 European Championship. He was Europe’s top goalscorer in the qualifying stages for 2010, too. Rooney’s career for England is dogged by ill fortune actually, but your negativity seems par for this particular course. Anyway, it’s an all-England debate this week – and, you may be pleased to know, a Raheem Sterling gun tattoo-free zone. We’ll let that percolate for a bit and maybe return to it next week – and start by turning the clock back to something else that was very good in 2004.

Some of the comments I have read on here and heard on the radio are a joke. People are delusional enough to think England have a chance of winning this World Cup if only Gareth Southgate had chosen different players. Spontaneous Fred, Rugby.

I remember many years ago – Bobby Robson was England manager – my dad came to an England game and I managed to get him into the press room for an hour or so before kick-off, just to have a cup of tea. He ended up in conversation with John Sadler who was a great journalist, The Sun’s chief sports writer but quite critical of Robson. My dad thought Robson was doing as well as he could, with the players he had. ‘John,’ he said, ‘who would you pick that isn’t in the team?’ ‘Paul Parker,’ said John. I agreed. Parker would have been in my team, too. ‘So we’re going to win the World Cup from right back?’ said dad. Now that wasn’t John’s claim, but I know what he meant. People might think Jonjo Shelvey, Jack Wilshere or Chris Smalling should be in the squad. But with the players Southgate has picked, I think we get knocked out in the last eight; and with the others, the last eight, if not sooner. It’s not as if he’s leaving an XI of guaranteed match-winners at home. He’s ignored injury-prone midfielders, players who have had their chance and the odd decent club man. There is no untapped well of talent. We are what we are.

I’m not saying Southgate’s good, but just back your man instead of making it toxic as Arsenal became for Arsene Wenger. Delamorte, London.

I think Arsenal’s fans were relatively patient around Wenger by comparison. This is Southgate’s first tournament. He needs to get out of the group, obviously, and has a reasonable chance of making it through the last 16, making the quarter-finals par – but the rush to negative judgement seems rather premature.

And so it begins. You Brits and your biannual self-flogging loathing of your own. I think you must look forward to it. I bet there will be more Americans pulling for England than Englishmen. Terribly pathetic. Mr Clark56, Virginia.

Yes, but if England lose, it doesn’t matter because it’s not your team anyway. So there is no real emotional investment, no attachment, no deeply felt disappointment. And if there was, if you really understood us, you would know why not all ‘Brits’ as you call us will be supporting the England team. If a nuance like that can elude you, may I suggest you mind your own.

Looking forward to watching France, Germany, Belgium, Brazil, Egypt, Argentina and Portugal. But not England. No creativity and the selection looks like we will be playing for draws. Reality Cheek, United Kingdom.

Yes, unlike that fascinating Portuguese team that won the European Championship in 2016, drawing all three group matches, and drawing three of their four knockout games in 90 minutes – winning two of those in extra time and one on penalties. So six out of seven drawn matches in 90 minutes, and only Wales defeated in normal time. Admit it, mate, that was just a checklist of teams with exciting players you’ve heard of, wasn’t it, with Egypt thrown in to affect expertise and because of Mohamed Salah.

Southgate will always be remembered for his penalty miss. The man is not a winner and should only be allowed to manage Under-10 sides at best. Fred Farmer, Derby.

Why would a penalty miss mean he couldn’t coach? And if he can’t coach, why should he be placed in youth development?

Terrible selection, we will be out at the quarter-final stage. Tufty69, Reading.

Yes, quite probably because whether we win the group or come second we are likely to face Germany or Brazil. Tell me the players Southgate should have picked to get past them.

If he’s not afraid to take risks why did he never pick Wilfried Zaha? Rald, Sevenoaks.

Because it would be quite the risk to select a player who has signed up for another country and is therefore ineligible. Zaha plays for the Ivory Coast and has done since 2016, fool.

I don’t understand what Danny Welbeck does. Alpha A, London.

He works hard, he scores goals – 15 in 37 international appearances, not the worst record – and he will selflessly shore up a forward position defensively if England are trying to close out a game.

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