Southgate eager to step forward with England

LONDON • England's caretaker manager Gareth Southgate expressed a desire to move on from a "very difficult" week in his introductory press conference yesterday.

The England Under-21 coach has been placed in charge on a temporary basis after Sam Allardyce left his post as manager last week.

Allardyce left by "mutual consent" after being caught giving advice about how to circumvent transfer rules and mocking his predecessor, Roy Hodgson, in a newspaper sting.

"I realise the last week has been a very difficult one for our organisation," Southgate said at the St George's Park national football centre in Burton, central England.

"I felt it was important to step forward in the leadership position.

"I'm very much looking forward to working with the players over the next 10 days to get the results the country wants."

Southgate has recalled Manchester United forwards Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard, and Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers at home to Malta on Saturday and away to Slovenia next week.

He also awarded Stoke City full-back Glen Johnson a first international call-up in over two years and confirmed that Wayne Rooney will continue as captain.

England won 1-0 away to Slovakia in Allardyce's one game in charge. The disgraced manager had left out Jack Wilshere and Ross Barkley and their exile will continue in Southgate's first two games in charge.

Southgate, a former England centre-back, said he had thanked Allardyce since his predecessor's departure.

"We exchanged messages. From my point of view, that was important," said the 46-year-old.

"I didn't want to be seen as someone who was waiting in the wings for an opportunity. I think Sam knew that. I felt it was important to thank him."

Southgate will also take charge of England's World Cup qualifier against Scotland and a friendly against Spain next month.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 04, 2016, with the headline 'Southgate eager to step forward with England'. Print Edition | Subscribe