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Southgate - can we just compete on penalties please?

England football manager Gareth Southgate, still dazed from the fact that his team are winning penalty shootouts these days, has proposed a rule change to UEFA and FIFA, governing bodies of the European and World Cups respectively.

Under his proposed system, the two teams would start by taking 10 penalties against each other. Only if this failed to separate them would they then proceed to open play, which remains a weakness for the England team.

Southgate says the team's improved performance was the result of his brilliant revelation that they should probably practice penalties, rather than just hoping they never had to take them. "The results have been amazing," he told reporters. "Even [goalkeeper] Jordan Pickford turns out to be pretty good at them. Certainly better than I ever was.

"Makes me think my next gig after this might be to write a 'how to succeed' self-help book that basically says if you practice something a lot, you get better at it. Obviously I'll need to flesh it out a bit, but ghost writers are pretty good at that sort of thing."

Asked whether the team couldn't practice open play and get better at that too, he said "We do, of course we do. But all I can do is divide the squad in half and have them play each other, which doesn't help. You only learn not to make hopeless passes to no one if you're faced with an opposing team that punishes you for it, not one that just boots the ball hopelessly back the other way."

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