I don’t fear England job: Southgate
GARETH SOUTHGATE has declared he would not be afraid to take on the England manager’s job on a permanent basis when his four-game stint as interim head coach ends. Southgate was installed following Sam Allardyce’s abrupt departure in September and Friday’s 3-0 win over Scotland in World Cup qualifying left him with two wins and one draw from his first three games. The England job is one of the most high-profile roles in world football, obliging incumbents to deal with sky-high expectations, a huge degree of personal scrutiny and an impatient press pack. But when asked if there was any part of him that feared the job, Southgate replied: “No, is the answer. “I said earlier in the week that it would be easy to look at the negatives, but to work with top players and to work in big matches is what I want to do. From that side, no.” Renowned for his mild-mannered nature, Southgate produced a rare display of emotion after Adam Lallana’s second goal against Scotland, dropping to one knee on the touchline and punching the air. “I enjoy winning,” the 46-year-old told reporters after the game at Wembley. “Obviously the person that I am when I’m in this sort of situation (talking to the media) or outside and meeting people is different to the animal that wants to win football matches.
“I think the players get that now and that’s important because I think sometimes there’s perhaps a misconception about how much it means for me to win. So it’s a special night to be involved in.”
England’s win over their old rivals preserved their two-point advantage at the top of Uefa qualifying Group F.
While the margin of victory — thanks to headers from Daniel Sturridge, Lallana and Gary Cahill — was comfortable, their performance was far from polished.
England’s determination to play the ball out from the back gave their supporters several hair-raising moments, with John Stones guilty of playing his team into trouble on more than one occasion.
But although Southgate emphasised the need for “bravery, but not stupidity”, he defended Stones and said the Manchester City centre-back will need patience if he is to fulfil his vast potential.
“For years we’ve talked about not being able to play out from the back,” said Southgate, whose side entertain Spain in a friendly on Tuesday.
“If we’re to be different, if we’re to progress, then we have to encourage players. But he also knows what I think of some of the things he did!
“What we’ve got to remember is he’s 22. In central defensive terms, it’s nothing. If we want to have a (Mats) Hummels, a (Jerome) Boateng, a (Gerard) Pique...
“I can remember managing a team against Pique at 22 when he played for Manchester United and he wasn’t the all-round real deal.
“I think he’s got the perfect manager to work with (Pep Guardiola) and to hone (his game) and for all of our defenders, that’s what we want to encourage.” — SuperSport ENGLAND gave India a huge scare on the final afternoon before the first Test in Rajkot ended in a draw.
Set 310 from a minimum of 49 overs, India slumped to 71-4 with at least 25 left, but were steadied by Virat Kohli (49 not out) and Ravichandran Ashwin.
Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha fell in the space of 16 balls, before Ravi Jadeja joined Kohli to take India to 172-6.
Alastair Cook made 130 in the tourists’ 260-3 declared, with Haseeb Hameed (82) missing out on a debut century.
The second of the five Tests begins in Visakhapatnam on Thursday.
England, heavy underdogs at the start of the series, will travel east buoyed by this performance. They dictated the terms for most of the Test and, in the end, world number ones India were hanging on.
In making 537, England became the first visiting team to claim a first-innings lead in India for four years, their spinners outbowled India’s and Hameed may have ended the long search for an opener to partner Cook.
But Visakhapatnam is likely to offer much more for the slow bowlers, which could favour India and provide England with a sterner challenge.
“England will take confidence from having competed well and they outperformed India,” said ex-England batsman Geoffrey Boycott on BBC Test Match Special. “But in five Tests, I’d suspect somewhere the ball will turn earlier, so winning the toss could be very important.”
England had India on the run during the final session and may have secured a remarkable victory had they held their chances before tea.
After Gautam Gambhir gloved Chris Woakes to second slip in the second over, left-arm spinner Zafar Ansari dropped a very sharp return chance off Murali Vijay and, in Ansari’s next over, Stuart Broad grassed a more straightforward catch low down at point off Cheteshwar Pujara.
Still England pressed. Leg-spinner Adil Rashid, continuing his excellent bowling of the first innings, had Pujara lbw to a ball that pitched outside leg stump — the batsman not opting to review — and, after the break, Vijay inside-edged Rashid to short leg before Moeen Ali found huge turn to bowl Ajinkya Rahane off his pads.
With the pitch starting to play tricks, Rashid and offbreak bowler Moeen had the ball spinning, spitting and bouncing, all while England catchers swarmed over the home batsmen.
India, not used to being under this sort of pressure in home conditions, were kept afloat by Kohli and Ashwin’s stand of 47.
Just as the visitors began to tire, Ashwin needlessly drove Ansari to cover and the cavalier Saha jammed a catch back to Rashid.
England rushed around to squeeze in extra overs, but were denied by the pugnacious, defiant Kohli and the counter-punching of Jadeja. – BBC Sport
Jose Mourinho (left) and Didier Drogba