14 Nov Southgate wants England decision
Gareth Southgate has called on the Football Association to decide whether they want him to carry on as England manager within a month.
After Tuesday evening’s friendly against Spain, Southgate’s interim command will officially be over and discussions will begin over whether or not to hand him the reins on a permanent basis.
A steering committee of FA chairman Greg Clarke, technical director Dan Ashworth, chief executive Martin Glenn and League Managers’ Association chairman Howard Wilkinson will be in charge of the decision.
They will be mindful of the need to consider alternatives but the overwhelming favourite is close at hand and, having been reticent about publicly stating his candidacy, Southgate is becoming more vocal since tightening his grip with a 3-0 win over Scotland.
It is clear, at last, that he has a taste for the top job and would happily accept it.
“It will be important for me to know what I’m doing after the middle of November,” he said.
“We’ve got a European Under-21 Championship to prepare for and the seniors have got their next round of qualifiers (in March).
“Of course everybody is going to want to know, I guess, by the end of November, middle of December, where everything is heading so we can decide who is responsible for which parts of the organisation’s work.
“That’s not my decision in the end. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve done so far.
“I’m immensely proud to have led my country for three games, with another on Tuesday, and to be involved in an England-Scotland game, which is as high pressure as they come. It’s been a brilliant experience and very, very special.”
Southgate has undoubtedly made a favourable impression since picking up the baton on in October, helping to settle choppy waters following Sam Allardyce’s humiliating 67-day reign.
The former Middlesbrough boss has brought a cool head, a tangible dose of intellectual rigour and – in his handling of Wayne Rooney – a hint of bravery.
On the pitch England have been imperfect but efficient and seven points from nine, with three clean sheets and top spot in World Cup qualifying is very much job done.
A relative lack of top-level experience is perhaps the major stumbling block, but he does not appear overwhelmed by the step up.
“I think if you look at a lot of the top coaches in the world they’ve had the opportunity at some point before they’ve worked at a big club,” he said.
“Maybe you prove yourself at a smaller one first or maybe you don’t. Pep (Guardiola) was straight in at Barcelona having worked with the B team.
“Everybody’s path is different. I don’t think there is an ideal pathway.
“From my point of view to have had the opportunity to show how I handle big occasions like Friday night and the lead-in to that has been invaluable experience and a great opportunity.”
England will be without Tottenham striker Harry Kane against Spain, having released him from their squad.
Kane was an unused substitute against the Scots having only just returned from a seven-week lay-off with an ankle injury.
Southgate was prepared to use the striker against Scotland if required but goals from Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Gary Cahill rendered that a moot point.
He will now head back to Tottenham to continue building his match fitness.
“Harry reported for us last week having not played a full game for some seven weeks but Tottenham were more than happy for him to come with us,” said Southgate.
“It was never really my intention to start him in a game and I think it’s important that he gets a different training programme to what we’re going to follow over the next couple of days.
“I’m really grateful to Tottenham for letting us have him for the qualifier. Once we’d assessed our injury status and the fact we were fine and covered for what we’d do for this game, the sessions that we’re going to do aren’t what Harry needs at this time, having had such a long lay-off.”
England have not called up a replacement for Kane, with Sturridge, Rooney, Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford all available to fill attacking roles.