Lallana wants swift decision

Midfielder hopes FA will appoint Southgate on permanent basis as England need stability

England's Adam Lallana and Jordan Pickford during training.
England's Adam Lallana and Jordan Pickford during training.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Adam Lallana has urged the Football Association to formalise Gareth Southgate's appointment as England's full-time manager so the team can begin to establish a discernible identity.

The Liverpool midfielder, who scored the only goal of Sam Allardyce's 67-day tenure, missed Southgate's first two games in charge with a groin injury. But he is in line to start today's World Cup qualifier against Scotland at Wembley.

There is an acceptance that it is harder for a manager to stamp a philosophy on an international team when squads meet up for only a few days on a handful of occasions.

Yet Lallana said: "It would be nice for Gareth, and for us, quite soon to know whether he's going to get the job on a permanent basis so you can build towards having a certain identity that your manager wants you to have.

"That's what a manager is there for. It would be nice for him in the longer term to put a structure in place because the team needs stability. Hopefully he will do well enough to get the job on a permanent basis."

The FA will begin the process of appointing a full-time manager after Tuesday's home friendly against Spain. And it appears only a humiliating defeat by Scotland would jeopardise Southgate's chance of being offered the position through to the 2018 World Cup at least.

Those within the governing body have been impressed with how he has approached the role since stepping into the breach following Allardyce's departure in September.

Southgate will still need to accept the terms proposed but, having initially doubted he had the experience to flourish, the 46-year-old is now more inclined to accept an offer from the FA.

It remains to be seen how his employers would react should England lose today, particularly given the lack of viable alternatives.

Arsene Wenger, who has support within the set-up, is expected to sign a new contract at Arsenal.

Former Hull City manager Steve Bruce and Ralf Rangnick, the sporting director at RB Leipzig, were interviewed over the summer before the FA opted to appoint Allardyce.

Southgate is expected to recall his captain and most experienced player, Wayne Rooney, against Scotland, most likely as a No. 10 playing behind Harry Kane, in the absence of the injured Dele Alli.

Off the pitch, the football associations of both countries have pledged to defy a Fifa ban on political, religious or commercial symbols by wearing black armbands with red poppy emblems.

It leaves both teams at risk of sanctions from Fifa, but England and Scotland are determined to observe the custom, by which people in Britain pay respect to the country's war dead.

"As head coach, I was keen for us to wear poppies," Southgate said.

"It's important we represent the nation and wearing the poppy is the right thing to do."



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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 11, 2016, with the headline 'Lallana wants swift decision'. Subscribe