Written by Lee Clarke
Gareth Southgate was handed the chance to take charge of the England national team on a permanent basis yesterday, with the former under 21’s manager promoted from within the current coaching ranks by the Football Association and handed a four-yea deal.
As with most decisions the FA make regarding the England team, the decision was met with mixed reaction from the English public and it could take Southgate some time to win over some sections, but not me.
Whilst Southgate might not necessarily be the outstanding candidate, he is the only candidate at this moment in time and with other managers not forthcoming in wanting the vacancy, the process of elimination sees the ex-Aston Villa captain tasked with reviving the team’s fortunes on the pitch.
Eddie Howe, the Bournemouth manager, would have been my choice following the Euro 2016 debacle but at his tender age of 39, he has a lot more learning to do at this stage of his career and the decision not to appoint him was probably justified.
credit Bobby Melok
Jurgen Klinsmann has recently departed from his role as manager of the United States but his German roots don’t sit right with me. Germany remains one of our most feared rivals and having such an icon of football in Germany as the England manager just isn’t right, is it?
So then we get back to Southgate. The man who won 57 caps for his country, who deserves a little more respect than to be called ‘yet another yes man’ I think.
Perhaps Southgate hasn’t earned his stripes as a club manager, per say, but he did earn some pretty big ones as a player, performing consistently well at club level and on the international stage.
Going back to the Germans for a second, I can’t help but think that they should be the model when it comes to running a national football team.
Appointing a manager and giving him the chance to build something over a period of time is not really rocket science is it?
Joachim Low didn’t pull up any trees as a club manager and when he was promoted from Jurgen Klinsmann’s assistant manager to head coach in 2006, it raised some serious eyebrows from the nation.
Despite his less than impressive record as a club boss, Low’s Germany side has never finished a tournament as any less than semi-finalists, has won the World Cup in 2014 and finished runners-up in the European Championships in 2008.
One thing which Low has become a master of over the years is the selection of in-form club players. Hopefully now that Southgate has got the England gig permanently, we can start to see the likes of Charlie Austin and Nathan Redmond handed places in future squads provided, of course, that they continue their current form.
The point I am making is that the national team boss doesn’t necessarily have to be a top quality, world class manager.
I want an England manager that knows the setup. A manager that knows how to get the best out of a group of hard working players and one who knows the younger generation coming through.
Southgate fits the bill for all of the above and although I think he will need to show an element of bottle, as I said earlier, to pick some of the players who are in form for their respective clubs, he does need a bit of slack cutting from the general public.
The 46-year-old might have a less than impressive record as a gaffer but he has the respect of the players and as a former captain he will ensure that the dressing room oozes with leadership, a quality which shouldn’t be underestimated.
Southgate will kick every single ball in the dugout and anyone comparing him as ‘similar to Roy Hodgson’, seriously needs to give their head a shake.
Throughout his career the newly appointed England boss showed passion and a fire in his belly to achieve the best he possibly could, each and every time he walked onto a pitch. If he installs that mentality on the England team then our results will pick up without doubt.
The England group needs to look like they enjoy playing for the team again and hopefully Southgate will have that as one of his immediate tasks to rectify.
The Three Lions cannot sink much lower than their Euro 2016 embarrassment and I think a lot of stick which the new man is taking is pretty naive to be honest, especially given the lack of candidates available.
Southgate is the man to take England into what will hopefully be an exciting new era and he will certainly have my backing.
Do you agree with these thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by whereareyousimon