I don’t fear Eng­land job: South­gate

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

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

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