Is Southgate the man for the Job?

The postponed European Championships take place later this year and England have many exciting prospects available for selection for the 23-man squad, from manager Gareth Southgate.

From an attacking perspective the options are endless, with the likes of Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and Dominic Calvert-Lewin all having breakout seasons in the top flight of English football.

This leaves the England boss with a dilemma, but it is almost a nice problem to have with an abundance of talent in certain positions.

Including in right back, where three of the Premier league’s best in Trent Alexander-Arnold, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Reece James are all fighting for their place in the England side.

But, with all this talent and potential coming through into the national side, the question has arisen as to whether Southgate is the man to lead them to any sort of major success.

Now on paper, the 50-year-old manager has done a decent job, leading England to a first World Cup semi-final in 30 years.

But, if you really dissect the World Cup performance in Russia, the victories were against Tunisia, Panama, Columbia and Sweden, all sides that an England squad should be beating comfortably.

There was also England’s best opportunity to reach the World Cup final against a Croatia side, who with all due respect were beatable. This is evident, as England beat them only four months later in the UEFA Nation’s League, where the Three Lions reached the semi-finals again.

At the time in that glorious summer of 2018, everyone seemed to have World Cup fever. Southgate’s famous waistcoat was selling out, the sun was shining, and everyone was on holiday.

Now that we have had to cope with the complete opposite over this past year, TV and armchair pundits have analysed the true credentials of the squad and whether Southgate is the man to lead a team, that has the potential to contend for major international success.

It is almost baffling to many, how the manager born in Watford, received the most elite job in English football in the first place. As, before receiving the role in 2016, he had only managed two teams across a spell of six years.

His first venture into management was at Premier League side Middlesbrough, the club where he had just finished his playing career. His spell lasted three years, with two mid-table finishes and a relegation, leading to his dismissal.

He then re-joined the management scene four years later, receiving the England Under 21’s management job, consequently being the stepping stone to the senior side.

Understandably, the FA would prefer to have an English manager coaching the national side, but it did and still does seem an odd appointment with other English managers having both greater experience and success.

The name that seems to fit the role more than any is that of Eddie Howe, who is currently out of management after leaving Bournemouth following their relegation.

The 43-year-old worked wonders at the Cherries guiding them from the fourth division of English football, all the way to a best finish of ninth in the Premier League.

His attacking brand of football would likely suit the fast-paced England side and would bring an excitement back to watching the national team, which has been missing over recent years.

England’s upcoming games begin at the end of this month, kicking off their World Cup qualifying campaign with two seemingly easy fixtures against San Marino and Albania. Followed by a tricky battle with a resilient Polish side, led by the unstoppable Robert Lewandowski.

Barring disaster, qualification for the Qatar World Cup should be a simple task for Southgate’s men, but it will be interesting to see the squad he selects, including if there are any debutants or recalls.

It is clear that Southgate will lead England in the approaching Euro’s, but the question is will it be his last major tournament or will he bring success back to the country?

featured image credit sky sports