England man­ager roots for Rooney

South­gate says cap­tain is not go­ing any­where, and he wants as­sis­tant team man­ager Hol­land to work full time

CityPress - - Sport - PETER AUF DER HEYDE sports@city­press.co.za

When Sam Al­lardyce fell vic­tim to yet an­other st­ing op­er­a­tion by the English me­dia, the Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion had lit­tle hes­i­ta­tion in nam­ing Gareth South­gate as in­terim man­ager of the Three Lions. The for­mer de­fender, who had a suc­cess­ful ca­reer with Crys­tal Palace, As­ton Villa and Mid­dles­brough, and played more than 50 games for the na­tional team, had spent three suc­cess­ful years in charge of England’s Un­der-21 side.

He led them to the fi­nals of the 2015 Euro­pean Un­der-21 cham­pi­onships, where they man­aged to beat the even­tual cham­pi­ons, Swe­den, but went out in the group stage.

His first match in charge of the se­nior side saw him coach the team to a dis­ap­point­ing 2-0 vic­tory against Malta, fol­lowed by a sim­i­larly dis­ap­point­ing goal­less draw in Slove­nia.

His third game in charge, a World Cup qual­i­fier against Scot­land, brought a 3-0 vic­tory and al­though the team’s per­for­mance was cer­tainly not as im­pres­sive as the re­sult in­di­cated, the me­dia started call­ing for him to be ap­pointed on a per­ma­nent ba­sis.

In the mid­dle of last month, shortly be­fore the Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion was to de­cide on a per­ma­nent coach, Spain trav­elled to England to take on the Three Lions at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium in what was to be South­gate’s fi­nal match as tem­po­rary coach.

Adam Lal­lana and Jamie Vardy gave the home side a 2-0 lead, and even though La Roja man­aged to equalise with two late goals, South­gate had done enough to con­vince the Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion that he was the right man for the job.

The Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion started ne­go­ti­at­ing with the for­mer in­ter­na­tional be­fore the matches against Scot­land and Spain, and pre­sum­ably the re­sults cost them an ex­tra £500 000 (R8.8 mil­lion) a year as they put South­gate into a much stronger ne­go­ti­at­ing po­si­tion.

Ear­lier this week, South­gate, who af­ter Roy Hodg­son’s res­ig­na­tion was con­sid­ered the favourite to take over, but said he was not ready, was given the job.

He re­port­edly signed a four-year con­tract worth £2 mil­lion a year, a con­sid­er­able im­prove­ment on the two-year £1.5 mil­lion con­tract the Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion orig­i­nally wanted to of­fer him. Stick­ing with the tried and tested One of the first de­ci­sions that South­gate made was to re­tain Wayne Rooney as cap­tain – one that he felt he needed to ex­plain to the me­dia as the Manch­ester United striker has not been hav­ing a great sea­son.

“Wayne is England cap­tain,” South­gate said.

“I said that at the be­gin­ning of the in­terim pe­riod, but what’s also clear is that I’ve only selected him to start in two of the four matches we’ve had. Ob­vi­ously, it’s not the case that Wayne ex­pects to play ev­ery game.

“It’s im­por­tant for me to de­velop more lead­ers in that group. If we’re go­ing to be suc­cess­ful, we need to de­velop lead­er­ship and de­velop re­silience, and that’s one of the key ar­eas.

“Wayne has played an im­por­tant part for England up to this point, and I’m sure he can do that in the fu­ture, but we also have to de­velop oth­ers.”

South­gate said he wanted to con­tinue work­ing with his tech­ni­cal staff, in­clud­ing as­sis­tant Steve Hol­land, who is jug­gling two po­si­tions be­tween the Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion and Chelsea.

The new England man­ager wants Hol­land to work full time, but, given Chelsea’s great start to the sea­son, they might not be will­ing to let him go. “I think every­one knows how im­por­tant Steve has been for me in terms of the work we’ve done in the past few years [at Un­der-21 level] and in the past few weeks. There’s no se­cret in that,” South­gate said.

The 46-year-old also con­firmed that there was no break clause in his con­tract.

“No, there’s no break clause. I’m tak­ing over at a point where the last two tour­na­ments haven’t been as suc­cess­ful as we’d like.

“There’s big po­ten­tial in the squad, but a lot of hard work ahead. We’ve got a group of play­ers I think are go­ing to de­velop a lot and it’s im­por­tant to look not just at short-term re­sults.”

England fans wel­comed the ap­point­ment, but whether they are will­ing to over­look bad short-term re­sults re­mains to be seen, and it could well be that the new man­ager finds him­self un­der pres­sure from the word go.


SKIP­PER New England boss Gareth South­gate has re­tained Wayne Rooney (left) as cap­tain


NEW BOSS Gareth South­gate is the new Three Lions team man­ager af­ter be­ing ap­pointed in to the full­time po­si­tion this week

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