Gareth Southgate is currently in talks with the FA to become the new England manager. Having been unbeaten in his four matches as a caretaker manager, he is now the frontrunner for the England job.
One thing that works in his favour is that no one actually wants the job other than him. England have no alternatives at the moment.
In Gareth Southgate’s defence, under his management England have not lost a match. However, it must be taken into account that his opponents were Malta, Slovenia, Scotland and Spain. Other than Spain, these are teams England are expected to beat quite comfortably.
He has performed well in both his previous jobs at Middlesbrough and England U-21s. During his time at Middlesbrough, he was often regarded one of England’s best young managerial prospects.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was one of the many people who saw Southgate’s potential as a national manager. Even back in 2007, Wenger suggested that Southgate was good enough to manage England.
In his three years in the Premier League with Boro, he managed to finish 12th, 13th, and 19th respectively. Southgate managed to get the better of Mourinho, Benitez and Wenger in these three years. He has shown that he can manage at a high level and do a fairly good job.
He then went on to manage the England under 21s where he successfully led the team through qualification to U21 European Championship in 2015. He has spent time learning the trade in two vastly different roles and has the qualifications and experience to take on the England job.
His previous playing experience at a similarly high level will serve him well. He knows what it feels like representing England at the international stage and the unnecessary pressure that comes along with it.
This will be valuable knowledge he can pass on to the current group of players if they make it to Russia in 2018. The current players seem to have taken a liking to Southgate as well which is should work in his favour.
Over the past few months, Gareth Southgate has proven that he is a competent manager and has come across as a man who is capable of dealing with the pressure of taking on this role with the national team.
However, reviving England’s fortunes on the international stage is not a one-man job. The problems with English football cannot be solved by bringing in a new manager.
In past, the FA have appointed different types of managers who have tried different approaches like Fabio Capello or Roy Hodgson. It has not worked. What English football needs is is a complete overhaul right from the grassroots level.
England need to look at other nations such as Spain and Germany for inspiration. After their Euro 2004 failure, Germany realized their footballing system needed a complete overhaul. They hired Jurgen Klinsmann who along with Joachim Loew brought about several significant changes that led to the eventual World Cup win in 2014.
England need to stop making short sighted decisions and have a long-term plan. To me, hiring Southgate feels like an uninspiring stop gap decision until a bigger name manager becomes available. However, at the moment England do not have an alternative. All everyone can do is be patient and hope this Southgate decision does not end in catastrophe.