Former England U21 manager Gareth Southgate is poised to be announced as the next manager of the senior national team.
Southgate has been the caretaker manager of the Three Lions since Sam Allardyce’s reign ended after just 67 days in charge. ‘Big Sam’ was sacked following allegations of corruption raised by a Telegraph sting.
The former Middlesbrough manager is now set to be named as the manager of the senior national team after England play Spain next Tuesday, according to the Telegraph. The FA has reportedly stated as much to other managerial candidates who were being considered for the role. However, the current caretaker manager is still tight-lipped about his future plans.
“My future is not important,” said Southgate. “It is to me and my family, obviously. But what’s important is that the team is top of the qualifying group going into Christmas and that the country is in a good place with that.
“Then there is time for whatever process is going to happen to take place. For me, that is what is right for the organistation, going through the process, talking to who they want to talk to. I have not discussed what happens next.”
Southgate has previously been apprehensive of taking up the job on a full-time basis. The England manager’s job is among the toughest in the world given the expectations and unrelenting criticism of a football crazy public and constant scrutiny by a remorseless media.
Apart from the issues off the pitch, Southgate also has to deal with the team’s poor displays on the pitch, particularly in the major tournaments. The Three Lions haven’t made it to a World Cup semi-final since 1990. They last reached the semi-finals of the European Championships in 1996, when they were hosting the tournament.
The ‘golden generation’ consisting of players like Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard, David Beckham and Frank Lampard has come and gone without winning any major trophies. Meanwhile, the country’s highest goal scorer and last remaining player from that generation in Wayne Rooney looks on the wane. Southgate’s predecessors didn’t seem to know what to with the crop of talent at their disposal.
Southgate has made two big decisions in his two games in charge so far. He dropped the Manchester United and England captain Wayne Rooney from his starting XI against Slovenia. The 31-year-old forward has been a cornerstone of the national side for years, but many lauded the manager’s progressive decision in light of Rooney’s poor form.
Another decision by Southgate has been to recall Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere to the England squad. Sam Allardyce had dropped the injury prone player for his one game in charge, but Wilshere has been clocking up the minutes since moving to Bournemouth on loan from Arsenal.
It is difficult to judge Southgate from these few decisions. One cannot predict at this stage whether he will be the man to finally take the Three Lions to glory, or whether he will end up being just another brick in the wall like his predecessors.