Make Gareth Southgate England Manager
After the acrimonious sacking of Sam Allardyce, Gareth Southgate has recently stepped in as the interim England manager. He has had great success, notably keeping the team at the top of the European Qualifying Group F. In addition, he has shown the strength to bench Wayne Rooney and to make an impression on the squad selections. Not every match has been a perfect showing, but the team looks in safe hands with their caretaker manager, who has only dropped two points out of nine. There is further promise, with his success with the under-21 side and the ability to promote some of these players. Under Southgate, England could finally start to become a force in international football.
Results so Far
Southgate’s England side has beaten Scotland, Malta and has earned a draw against Slovenia. On paper, any England manager should be able to defeat all three teams. Nevertheless, the progress that he has made does garner some promise.
The most worrying match of Southgate’s tenure was the dismal draw against Slovenia. In truth, it was a fortunate draw in which Joe Hart made some key saves to secure the point. This was a match where there was sloppiness all over the pitch. Underhit passes, a lack of clinical finishing and poor individual performances pointed to poor player performance. In truth, the players here were more to blame than the manager.
The landmark victory came against Scotland, despite a shaky start. The three goals may have flattered England, but ultimately showed a clinical streak that Scotland lacked. After crosses from Kyle Walker and Danny Rose were converted by Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana, they were in cruise control. This showed progress from Southgate’s first two matches in charge, which bodes well for the future.
Dropping Rooney to the bench was a strong and just decision to make. After all, the England captain simply hadn’t performed well enough. The willingness to bench such a player shows that Southgate’s squad is merited by performance. This makes a welcome change from the reputation based squads. He did bring Rooney back into the squad for Scotland, though, which showed that he is capable of giving second chances and recognising the value of players in particular matches.
Southgate has clearly settled on his preferred back four. In all three matches, Walker, Gary Cahill, John Stones and Danny Rose have started. It is important to have a constant back four, to ensure defensive stability. The four have operated to some success, but have arguably been underwhelming in defence. But, offensively, the likes of Walker and Rose provided invaluable width and contributed with some crosses. All in all, the manager is deploying one of the best England back four’s possible. If his stay is extended, he will work on this defence to boost it to higher standards.
As England under-21 manager, he has managed some potential senior players. This provides a unique insight into the nation’s youth players, with the opportunity of promoting them. Therefore, it would be a progressive decision to appoint him as he has had hands on experience with the youngsters. Whilst there are other candidates that may prioritise youth, none will have the depth of knowledge that Southgate has. Having young players capable of breaking through is a massive benefit to the squad overall. This is because the older players must show the hungry and ability to retain their places. In addition, the option to bring on an up and coming star like Joshua Onomah could be a game changing moment. As the saying goes, if a player is good enough, he’s old enough and this is undoubtedly something that Southgate wants to bring to the England squad.
The FA must appoint Southgate as the next England manager. This is because of his successful tenure in both senior and youth roles. It is his knowledge of young stars that best earmarks him. He has shown the strength to bench the likes of Rooney and is building a solid performance-based squad. Rather than waiting till summer to appoint a full-time manager, the FA should make his role permanent so that he can start his dream England team project as soon as possible.