England’s interim boss Gareth Southgate believes they need leaders
England need leaders as they look to move forward following the departure of manager Sam Allardyce, said interim boss Gareth Southgate yesterday during a press conference.
The 46-year-old vacated his role as under-21s boss to take temporary charge of the national team last week.
On Sunday, he named his first squad for the games against Malta and Slovenia.
He confirmed that Wayne Rooney will remain as captain, describing the Manchester United forward as “the outstanding leader in the group”.
But he added: “We can’t just have one leader, we need a team of leaders. That needs to emerge before we head to Russia for the World Cup in 2018.”
When asked about retaining striker Rooney as captain, he said: “Wayne bears a big burden for this team. Too much at times.
“After a period of change over the summer and now this month, the most important thing at this time is leadership, both on and off the field, and Wayne has provided that over the last two years.
“The way he has matured into the role is really impressive and there was no doubt in my mind about keeping him in that position.”
Southgate was appointed as England manager for the next four games, with a view to potentially sealing the job on a permanent basis if positive results follow.
His stint includes three World Cup qualifiers, one of which is next Saturday’s clash against Malta and another against rivals Scotland, and a friendly against Spain at the end of November.
“The opportunity to do this is something no one will be able to take away from me, and I’m excited by the challenge,” he added.
“In my view it’s a wonderful job to have for whatever period of time.
“The workings of the last week have been almost identical to running the U21s. Yes, the profile is greater and the players a bit older, but if I was comparing it to taking over at Middlesbrough when everything was new, this has been far, far calmer.
“I’ve been able to look forward to it with a lot more excitement.”
England interim manager Gareth Southgate