Ready for top job
Southgate wants FA to consider him for vacant England post
Gareth Southgate — whose first game as England manager has seen 88,000 Wembley tickets sold — wants to be considered for the job on a full-time basis.
The 46-year-old has been put in interim charge of the national team following the sacking of Sam Allardyce last week and will oversee the next four games — against Malta, Slovenia, Scotland and Spain.
Publicly, Southgate has been non-committal about whether he wants the job on a permanent basis. But it is understood the former Middlesbrough manager would like to continue in the role once his initial stint is over. If Southgate can make a success of his short-term challenge, he would be up for the role as permanent boss.
Arsene Wenger remains the Football Association’s dream candidate for the job — chief executive Martin Glenn last week admitted the Arsenal boss has the ‘perfect’ credentials. But the FA will not formally start their search until Southgate’s interim period is complete in order to give him a fair crack of the whip.
For now, Southgate is focused on getting his reign off to a winning start against Malta, with Wayne Rooney set to continue in a midfield role. The England captain trained in a withdrawn position during Southgate’s sessions at St George’s Park this week.
And all the indications are that Southgate, who is set to play Joe Hart in goal, will continue to deploy Rooney in a central role. Southgate has insisted Rooney’s experience will prove vital in helping the national team steady the ship following a fortnight to forget for English football, a clear indication of the Manchester United man’s job.
Meanwhile, Kyle Walker admits Roy Hodgson’s England had no Plan B when things were going wrong against Iceland over the summer - and is the latest player to stress the need for the team to be ‘streetwise’.
The Three Lions exited Euro 2016 at the last-16 stage in humiliating fashion in June as they were beaten 2-1 - the score from the 18th minute - by Iceland, after which boss Hodgson promptly resigned.
England have since opened their World Cup 2018 qualifying campaign with a 1-0 win in Slovakia overseen by Hodgson’s replacement Sam Allardyce, who then left the job after secretly filmed footage of him making controversial remarks was released by the Daily Telegraph.
Gareth Southgate has subsequently taken over as interim boss, with his first match in charge coming today when Malta visit Wembley in England’s second Group F fixture.
England interim boss Gareth Southgate with players during a past training session.