Southgate ready to step up

Gareth Southgate has admitted it’s been a hectic week, having been named as England interim manager, following the departure of Sam Allardyce last Tuesday and then sitting down to select his squad for the forthcoming World cup qualifiers.

Southgate will take charge for the next four games and has admitted his appointment happened so quickly, but he was ready to step up and lead the team.

“The situation happened so quickly, but when you are in football, you get used to the speed of the way things happened and it was a moment to step up and put myself forward as the leader of this group.”

The new England boss feels he is more prepared for this job than he was ten years ago when he was thrust into the manager’s chair at Middlesborough.

The new man was keen to stress the need for stability, but he also revealed the decision to continue with Wayne Rooney as captain was a simple one and that the Manchester United player is the ‘outstanding leader’ in the England team.

Southgate has already named Manchester United duo Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard in his 23 man squad alongside 32 year old Stoke defender Glen Johnson, who’s been brought back into the fold to add a bit of experience in the back line.

Crystal Palace midfielder Andros Townsend has been drafted in to replace the injured Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling.

Southgate is well aware that his new role will involve everyone having an opinion on his selection and the way they should play.

“Everyone is going to have a view on what the team should be. We could all sit in a room and everyone would pick something slightly different.”

The new man will be in charge for Malta on Saturday before Tuesday’s trip to Slovenia, followed by a home game against Scotland and a friendly with Spain.

An impressive set of results from the four games ahead could put Southgate in a more permanent position to lead England to the World cup in Russia in 2018, but for now he’s keen to focus on the job in hand.

“The opportunity to do this is something no one will be able to take away from me, and I’m excited by the challenge.”

“In my view it’s a wonderful job to have for whatever period of time.”

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