Gareth Southgate has officially been appointed England manager on a four-year contract, understood to be worth £1.5m per year (the lowest paid England manager since Kevin Kegan).
— England (@England) November 30, 2016
The former u-21’s coach and interim manager for the past 2 months, was interviewed by the FA’s five-man selection panel last week at the England FA’s headquarters, St George’s Park. Southgate has agreed a four year deal through to 2020, with a break clause after the 2018 Russia World Cup which can be triggered by either party.
Southgate had taken charge of four internationals under his interim title – three World Cup qualifiers (versus Malta, Slovenia and Wales) and a friendly against Spain, winning two and drawing two.
He said following narrowly drawing with Spain in November (letting in two goals in the final minutes), “In terms of the remit, we’ve fulfilled that. It’s an exciting group of players. They’ve got a lot of potential but there’s a long way to go before we can be considered a top team. I’m proud to have led the country for a couple of really important games and experienced what that feels like. We’ve got a European Under-21 Championship next summer and the draw is being made next month, so I need to know where I’m going to park my car for the next few weeks.”
Unveiled this afternoon by the FA, Southagate said, “I am extremely proud to be appointed England manager. However, I’m also conscious that getting the job is one thing, now I want to do the job successfully.”
The new England manager made over 500 club appearances for Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Middlesborough, whilst also earning 57 caps for English during his playing career. He infamously missed the penalty that knocked England out in the semi-finals of the England-hosted Euro 96 against Germany.
In 2006 he hung up his boots and immediately took up the mantle at Middlesborough between 2006 and 2009, before becoming the FA’s head of elite development in 2011. In 2013 he was appointed the u-21 side. During his reign as u-21 manager, he often cruised through qualifying, however, struggled in tournaments despite being among the favourites. Most notably Southagate led England u-21 came bottom of their group in the European 2015 finals.
Martin Glenn the FA’s chief executive, who has been busy since England’s disappointing exit from Euro 2016 at the hands of Iceland said, “We are delighted to confirm Gareth as England manager. He’s obviously somebody we know well but it’s his understanding of international football and the development set-up at St. George’s Park that is important.”
“He performed extremely well during the four games he was in temporary charge and he impressed us during a tough interview process. Gareth is a great ambassador for what the FA stands for, he’s a very good football tactician and a leader but beneath that he’s a winner and that’s an important part of the job.”
This appointment certainly can be seen as the sensible appointment. After Allardyce left, the FA gave themselves no time to appoint Southgate as the interim manager; he knew the players and the setup very well after his three years working with the England youth side. However, the FA did not immediately appoint Southgate as the manager, they bought themselves time. Interestingly England now do not meet again until March for a qualifier against Lithuania and a friendly against the old enemy, Germany. Whilst they could have waited until nearer the next England game, England’s two draws and two wins in the past two months have proved to be enough to dissaude the FA needing to even interview any other coach.
Southgate knows what the England role entails, having working closely with both Hodgson and Allardyce (briefly) and clearly thinks he can handle the immense pressure the comes entangled with a role that has been a poisoned chalice in the recent past. Only time will tell, and I’m sure we say this every manager that comes and goes, but I think Southgate will break the mould and be a successful England manager.