Head­ing South...

> In­tel­li­gent, cre­ative, cu­ri­ous – South­gate just might be the new kind of man­ager Eng­land needs

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

man­ager speak­ing with such per­spec­tive did cause the clouds to lift.

It was un­usual, given foot­ball’s in­su­lar­ity, to find some­one in his seat twice speak­ing of foot­ball in a broader sport­ing per­spec­tive.

South­gate ref­er­enced the mul­ti­tude of cap­tains Sir Clive Wood­ward pos­sessed for Eng­land’s win­ning Rugby World Cup team of 2003 and spoke of how “any high level sports team” must be able to per­form un­der pres­sure.

He was not ob­se­quious about Roy Hodg­son, a man­ager whose side in France this sum­mer had lacked play­ers with the “big match ex­pe­ri­ence” to deal with a knock­out round match. He im­plied that there were im­prove­ments to be made on Sam Al­lardyce’s first and only game in charge.

It cer­tainly felt like the nascent be­gin­nings of a more in­tel­li­gent, cre­ative, cu­ri­ous Eng­land. Jesse Lin­gard’s role as “Eng­land’s best player un­der pres­sure’” in the 2015 U21s Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships; Wayne Rooney’s in­tel­lec­tual de­vel­op­ment since he came across him playing Tur­key at Sun­der­land in 2003; how he’d shown a list of his own ca­reer tri­umphs and dis­as­ters to his young Eng­land charges.

You don’t get much sense, speak­ing to the FA, that they con­sider South­gate their man for the fu­ture. Chief ex­ec­u­tive Martin Glenn will tell you that sta­tis­ti­cally a 60some­thing man of the world is the one most likely to de­liver as an in­ter­na­tional man­ager. The idea of hir­ing Arsene Wenger seems ir­re­sistible, el­e­vat­ing Eng­land to the realms of su­per­power sta­tus as it would. They’d pay what they have to.

But per­haps it will take some­thing out of the realms of the or­di­nary to break what Jose Mour­inho de­scribed two weeks ago as the “Eng­land disas­ter.” There was a lot of anal­y­sis this sum­mer about how Wales had man­aged to ac­com­plish what they did in France while Eng­land im­ploded.

Much of it all came down to a na­tional as­so­ci­a­tion putting faith in Chris Cole­man – a 46year-old, just like South­gate – whose inaus­pi­cious start in that par­tic­u­lar man­age­rial seat made the play­ers feel supreme loy­alty to him when prospec­tive glory be­gan to beckon.

The Wales story gives us rea­sons to hope that South­gate can do enough to re­tain the po­si­tion per­ma­nently. He was too wise in this en­vi­ron­ment to re­spond di­rectly to the ques­tion of whether he wants it but you only had to lis­ten a lit­tle to hear that he was pro­vid­ing an an­swer. “This is huge for my fam­ily, huge for ev­ery­one who knows me and has… touched my de­vel­op­ment,” he said. – The In­de­pen­dent

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