Euro 2016

Football: Southgate England's stand-in manager

England Under-21 coach Gareth Southgate is likely to take charge of the senior England team until the Football Association decides on appointing what FA chief Martin Glenn has said will be the "best person for the job". Southgate was previously manager of
England Under-21 coach Gareth Southgate is likely to take charge of the senior England team until the Football Association decides on appointing what FA chief Martin Glenn has said will be the "best person for the job". Southgate was previously manager of Middlesbrough in the Premier League. PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

FA holds off on hiring Hodgson's permanent replacement, Wenger and Rodgers in the mix

LONDON • The Football Association (FA) is expected to appoint Gareth Southgate on an interim basis, before sounding out the likes of Arsene Wenger and Brendan Rodgers as part of an exhaustive and global search to identify Roy Hodgson's permanent successor as England manager.

Martin Glenn, the FA's chief executive, and the FA's vice-chairman, David Gill, will work with the technical director, Dan Ashworth, to identify a new manager.

Southgate, now in charge of the Under-21s, is likely to be in charge when the senior side play their first World Cup qualifier in Slovakia in nine weeks' time.

Glenn suggested the FA had opted against drawing up succession plans before Euro 2016 "because we didn't want to undermine (Hodgson)". But, in the wake of arguably the most embarrassing result in the national team's 144-year history, he is intent upon appointing "the best man for the job".

He, Ashworth and Gill will consider foreign candidates but would favour a manager who has experienced life in the Premier League.

  • Who is Southgate?
  • • As a player, he played in central defence for Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough in an 18-year career.

    • Most notable moment in an England shirt was missing the sixth spot kick in the Euro 1996 semi-final penalty shoot-out, which they lost 5-6 to Germany at Wembley.

    • Has been in charge of the England Under-21 side since 2013, after managing Middlesbrough from 2006-09.

    • Kept Middlesbrough in the Premier League for two seasons before they were relegated in the 2008-09 season.

The FA would be prepared to wait for an ideal candidate to complete a contract elsewhere, with the interim manager overseeing the qualifiers for Russia 2018 in the meantime.

That has opened up the intriguing possibility of a pursuit of Wenger, who is entering the final year of his deal at Arsenal and of whom Ashworth recently said: "Has Arsene got a fantastic understanding of the Premier League, of English players, of the English media, of the expectations of England? Absolutely.

"So would you rule him out? Probably not."

It is also known that Rodgers spoke with Ashworth - Glenn insisted the England job was not discussed - before signing a one-year rolling contract at Celtic.

The former Liverpool manager still has plenty of admirers within the FA, with the title-winning Leicester City manager, Claudio Ranieri, also likely to be considered.

"As I said, it has got to be the best man or woman for the job," Glenn said.

Raising the possibility of a first female England coach, he added: "As I said, it has got to be the best man or woman. More likely a man, but it's the best person for the job. I don't think we are ruling out anything.

"An ideal mix is somebody who has had experience of the English game, ideally at a significant level. That is what you would look for.

"We clearly need an inspirational manager who can harness all the resources that the English game has got, everything we now have at St George's Park, to make us more resilient in tournaments.

He added that 45-year-old Southgate, a respected figure within the FA and in charge of the Under-21 side that finished bottom of their group at last summer's European Championship, would be "a pretty obvious one to pick" in terms of the initial interim.

Asked if they would be prepared to wait for a candidate to run down his contract, Glenn said: "It is a possibility, of course. If you said: 'This person is an absolute shoo-in, can you wait?' then we are well placed with an interim solution."

Ashworth intends to speak to the outgoing coach Gary Neville and a number of leading figures within the game when canvassing opinion over who should take the role, and will also consult senior players - Wayne Rooney, Joe Hart and James Milner are the only members of Hodgson's party with more than 50 caps - in the current squad.

Rooney had suggested he would be "interested and excited to see who the new manager is" in the aftermath of the 2-1 defeat to Iceland.

"He needs to put his stamp on the team, whoever he is," said the England captain.

"I know one thing: if I was the manager coming in I'd be very excited. It's difficult to see now, but we do have a good squad. Whoever comes in will have the players to move us on from where we are and take us one step further."

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 30, 2016, with the headline 'Southgate England's stand-in manager'. Print Edition | Subscribe