South­gate sa­vors chance to be sav­ior

FA con­firms its man in top job as Eng­land bids to end years of hurt

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS in Lon­don

Five months af­ter say­ing he lacked the ex­pe­ri­ence to coach Eng­land, Gareth South­gate landed one of world soc­cer’s tough­est roles on Wed­nes­day by show­ing he can han­dle the re­spon­si­bil­ity.

The 46-year-old South­gate pulled out of the run­ning to suc­ceed Roy Hodg­son af­ter Eng­land’s Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship debacle, clear­ing the way for Sam Al­lardyce’s ap­point­ment in July.

But when Al­lardyce was forced out fol­low­ing one game in charge, South­gate had an un­ex­pected chance to get a taste of coach­ing Eng­land for four games.

Pro­moted from the coun­try’s un­der-21 team, South­gate passed his au­di­tion and se­cured a four-year con­tract.

“I think at that time (in July) there would have been a


“I don’t know why it’s taken them this long to do it, that pretty much sums up the FA. The au­di­tion went well, we played pretty well. I’m not sure who else is out there to be hon­est. I like Gareth, he is a good guy. He should have been ap­pointed a long time ago and we could have all got on with it.”

Jamie Red­knapp,

for­mer Eng­land team­mate of South­gate per­cep­tion about some­one be­ing pro­moted in­ter­nally through the or­ga­ni­za­tion,” South­gate said.

“Hav­ing had the op­por­tu­nity to prove my­self over a small sam­ple of games, I have been able to show I can han­dle the role ... and prove to peo­ple I was ca­pa­ble of pre­par­ing the team for some big matches.”

South­gate said he be­lieves he is qual­i­fied to fill a role pre­vi­ously oc­cu­pied by vet­eran coaches Fabio Capello and Sven-Go­ran Eriks­son, de­spite his only pre­vi­ous first-team man­age­rial role at Mid­dles­brough end­ing in 2009 af­ter three years.

“Af­ter the sum­mer I have had time to re­flect on the qual­i­ties I have got, the ex­pe­ri­ences I have got and how that would pre­pare me for this sort of a role,” South­gate said.

The for­mer Eng­land de­fender pointed to tourna-

“I played with Gareth and couldn’t be­lieve what a good player he was. Peo­ple say has he got the ex­pe­ri­ence? Which English man­ager would have the ex­pe­ri­ence? It’s all about the play­ers. Have we got the play­ers? I’m not sure we have ment ex­pe­ri­ence as a player and in charge of the un­der-21 team, which saw him work with much of the cur­rent se­nior squad.

“I’ve thor­oughly en­joyed work­ing with the play­ers over these past four games and I think there’s huge po­ten­tial,” South­gate said of his un­beaten run as in­terim coach.

South­gate se­cured World Cup qual­i­fy­ing wins over Malta and Scot­land, a draw against Slove­nia and a 2-2 draw against Spain in a friendly. He seemed at ease in the role and even showed some back­bone by drop­ping un­der-per­form­ing cap­tain Wayne Rooney in his sec­ond match as in­terim coach. the play­ers.”

for­mer Arse­nal and Eng­land mid­fielder

Paul Mer­son,

“It’s a thank­less task be­cause I don’t feel we have the play­ers to com­pete at the very top level of in­ter­na­tional foot­ball. It’s tough be­cause ev­ery­one ex­pects Eng­land to be up there chal­leng­ing the top teams when we don’t re­ally have the depth of squad to be able to do that.”

for­mer Southamp­ton and Eng­land for­ward

Matt Le Tissier,

“I think it’s a de­ci­sion based on po­ten­tial more than what he has ac­tu­ally achieved in man­age­ment. In some ways he fits the bill. He has had in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence as a

South­gate was the only per­son the Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion in­ter­viewed this time, with the English gov­ern­ing body say­ing it looked into a “num­ber of man­agers” be­fore Al­lardyce was hired in July.

“The job was re­ally to as­sess Gareth against that group of peo­ple we looked at be­fore,” FA chief ex­ec­u­tive Martin Glenn said of the five-man panel which in­ter­viewed South­gate.

“Gareth dis­played great con­fi­dence, he re­ally knows what he is talk­ing about and he un­der­stands how to mo­ti­vate play­ers,” said Glenn.

“You can see, like all of us, he has still got things to learn, and we got a bet­ter idea about player. And he fits the pro­file off the pitch that the FA wants af­ter the (Sam) Al­lardyce fi­asco. On the other side, his the ways we can put sup­port around him to en­sure he can be suc­cess­ful.”

Eng­land won the 1966 World Cup, but has only reached the semi­fi­nals of a ma­jor tour­na­ment twice since then. The last time was at Euro 96, when South­gate missed the de­ci­sive penalty in a shootout against Ger­many — the cur­rent team’s next op­po­nent in March.

Eng­land hosts the world’s rich­est soc­cer league and has high ex­pec­ta­tions for its na­tional team de­spite its woe­ful record at re­cent tour­na­ments.

With Hodg­son in charge, Eng­land was elim­i­nated in the group stage of the 2014 World Cup and then lost to min­nows Ice­land in the last 16 at Euro 2016.

Once a job sought by the best coaches in world soc­cer, the Eng­land role has lost its ap­peal. No reign has been shorter or more em­bar­rass­ing for the FA than Al­lardyce’s. He left the job af­ter 67 days — and just one match — when his in­tegrity was dam­aged by (South­gate’s) record at Mid­dles­brough wasn’t great. Man­ag­ing in­ter­na­tional teams at the World Cup — has he got un­guarded com­ments to un­der­cover re­porters about il­le­gal trans­fer prac­tices and po­ten­tial pub­lic-speak­ing ap­pear­ances.

Clean-cut, well-spo­ken and with no bag­gage, South­gate fits the bill for the FA in terms of im­age.

He also knows the FA and what it wants and ex­pects, hav­ing been coach of the un­der-21s for three years and the na­tional gov­ern­ing body’s head of elite de­vel­op­ment be­fore that.

He re­paired some of the dam­age done to his rep­u­ta­tion from his time at Mid­dles­brough when he coached Eng­land Un­der-21s, lead­ing it to a first ti­tle in 22 years at this year’s Toulon tour­na­ment.

And he im­pressed dur­ing his two-month spell as in­terim coach of Eng­land’s se­nior team by en­cour­ag­ing a brave style that saw the team play the ball out from the back as much as pos­si­ble.

In his play­ing ca­reer as a cen­ter back, South­gate had spells at Crystal Palace, As­ton Villa and Boro.

I’ve thor­oughly en­joyed work­ing with the play­ers over these past four games and I think there’s huge po­ten­tial.” Gareth South­gate, af­ter be­ing ap­pointed Eng­land man­ager

catches the ball dur­ing the World Cup qual­i­fier against Malta in Oc­to­ber. Pun­dits are di­vided on whether he can re­turn his coun­try to promi­nence in ma­jor tour­na­ments. One of the more dif­fi­cult parts for me is that I wasn’t as young as some of the oth­ers.” David Ea­tock, on be­ing a victim of sex­ual abuse

“The job was re­ally to as­sess Gareth against that group of peo­ple we looked at be­fore. You can see, like all of us, he has still got some things to learn.”

Martin Glenn,

FA chief ex­ec­u­tive

He added: “I’m just glad Andy Wood­ward, by speak­ing out, has given me the strength to do this be­cause I never would have oth­er­wise.

“It has been like a knot in my brain and I’m now try­ing to pick apart that knot.”

On Tues­day, Ben­nell, also a for­mer youth coach, was charged with eight counts of child abuse.

Ben­nell, who has al­ready served three jail terms for pre­vi­ous child sex of­fenses, has faced a slew of new al­le­ga­tions by at least 20 for­mer play­ers span­ning three decades, be­gin­ning in the 1970s when he was work­ing as a coach for Crewe, Manch­ester City and Stoke City.

Ben­nell, who it was re­vealed on Mon­day had to be hos­pi­tal­ized when he was found un­con­scious in a ho­tel near Lon­don, will ap­pear in court on Dec 14.

Es­sex and Nor­folk Po­lice are the lat­est forces to con­firm they are in­ves­ti­gat­ing abuse claims within the game, tak­ing the cur­rent tally to 13.

Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man Greg Clarke has called the de­vel­op­ing scan­dal “the great­est cri­sis” in English soc­cer he could re­call.

Po­lice Scot­land has also con­firmed it has launched a probe fol­low­ing abuse al­le­ga­tions north of the bor­der.

The FA has set up an in­ter­nal re­view headed by lawyer Kate Gal­lafent, an ex­pert in child pro­tec­tion.


Gareth South­gate gives fans the thumbs-up be­fore Eng­land’s 2018 World Cup qual­i­fy­ing draw against Slove­nia in Ljubl­jana last month.


Eng­land boss Gareth South­gate

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