England manager Gareth Southgate has ended speculation by revealing the 23 excuses he plans to use for England’s failure at the World Cup.
The list of excuses will be expected to maintain a modicum of respect for the team following their inevitable early exit from the competition this summer.
Southgate told reporters at the unveiling, “We are away for a couple of weeks, so it’s important I give myself a full range of excuses to choose from, depending on what the tournament throws at us.
“Flexibility is key, and though I’ve gone for trusted excuses such as cheating foreigners and a lack of English players in the premier league, I’ve called up a couple of new ones in media intrusion and ‘inexperience’.
“These excuses might not have proven themselves at international level, but I know they will do a job if required.”
Fans have reacted with a mixture of surprise and frustration at the squad of excuses, and debate has raged between them over which excuses should be on the plane to Russia.
England supporter Simon Williams told us, “It’s not a bad squad, but I think taking three Harry Kane excuses is overkill, you just need a couple, and that means he’s had to leave a couple of promising excuses at home.
“My mate Dave said he should have taken a wildcard, like the ‘Illuminati’, or ‘Aliens’ – but he supports Birmingham City, so what does he know.”
That excuse list in full:
- The temperature was too hot
- The temperature wasn’t as hot as we’d planned
- The hotel was too isolated
- The hotel was too central and busy
- Too much experience
- Media intrusion
- Harry Kane injury
- Dele Alli injury
- Kyle Walker injury
- No Harry Kane
- Lack of Gary Cahill injury
- Influx of premier league foreigners
- Too many Premier League games
- ‘Silly mistakes’ on the pitch
- Cheating foreigners robbing our brave boys
- Jack Wilshere wasn’t there
- Local food wasn’t right
- The Internet
- John Terry texting Harry Kane’s girlfriend
- “I got it wrong”