Southgate looks likely to lead the Three Lions
GARETH Southgate was expected to be approved as the new England manager by Football Association chiefs yesterday, according to British media reports.
Southgate has been in interim charge since replacing Sam Allardyce in September after he was forced out just 67 days into his reign following a Daily Telegraph investigation into corruption in football.
The 46-year-old Southgate has made it clear he wants the job and, given the lack of other quality candidates, is believed to have done enough during his four games in charge to convince the FA to hand him the post on a permanent basis.
Southgate’s position was expected to be ratified during an FA board meeting yesterday, although an official announcement did not arrive by time of print.
The former Middlesbrough boss, who would become England’s third manager this year following the departures of Roy Hodgson and Allardyce, spoke to a five-person panel at St George’s Park on November 21 after the end of his interim reign.
FA chair Greg Clarke, chief executive Martin Glenn, technical director Dan Ashworth, former England player Graeme Le Saux and League Managers’ Association chair Howard Wilkinson were all involved.
While it was billed as an interview, it was more of a discussion about Southgate’s vision of the England team.
Glenn had previously confirmed Southgate was in a strong position and the former England defender wanted the job.
During his brief tenure Southgate has already had to deal with controversy with captain Wayne Rooney pictured mingling with guests at the hotel where England were based during his free time following the 3-0 World Cup qualifying win over Scotland.
Newspaper reports suggested the skipper was drunk and made an unscheduled appearance at a wedding reception, with chief executive Glenn promising an investigation into the conduct of all players and staff during their free time.
Southgate was unbeaten in his four games, winning two and drawing two, including this month’s win over Scotland which left England top of Group F as they bid to reach the 2018 World Cup.
England also beat Malta and drew in Slovenia before a 2-2 friendly draw with Spain in Southgate’s last game, when they squandered a two-goal lead in the final minutes at Wembley.
Southgate’s backroom team will be discussed at the board meeting, with Chelsea assistant coach Steve Holland set to be handed a fulltime role with the senior national side.
The FA must also look at the age group set-ups with under-20 manager Aidy Boothroyd having temporarily stepped up to replace Southgate, who had previously served as under-21 boss. – ENGLAND captain Alastair Cook is looking forward to a rare week-long break in a hectic playing schedule after the heavy third Test defeat against India in Mohali on November 29.
Virat Kohli’s side won by eight wickets to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the five-Test series.
But England’s players are looking to unwind with some welcome down time in Dubai before making the short trip from the Gulf resort city to Mumbai for the fourth Test, which begins on December 8.
“The break comes at a very good time, obviously, after three back-toback Test matches,” Cook told reporters after the defeat.
Some of the England squad have been on duty since landing in Bangladesh on September 30 for three oneday internationals followed by the 1-1 draw in the Test series there.
Cook himself has spent just 18 hours with his new-born daughter after dashing home from the Bangladesh tour for her birth.
“We have this week off and I think, most people going to Dubai,” said Cook. “Mentally it will be break from cricket. We will come back little bit more refreshed.”
‘The India we played in 2012 was different, probably an ageing team compared to now.’
Gareth Southgate is poised to assume the long-term post of coaching England’s national side.