Kevin Davies has backed Gareth Southgate to lead England out of the gloom, despite conceding to being “disappointed” that Sam Allardyce lost the job.
Davies, who earned one England cap, played under Allardyce at Bolton Wanderers and describes the 62-year-old as a friend, but he stopped short of suggesting the Football Association had been wrong to dismiss him following an undercover newspaper sting.
And he also expressed support for Southgate, who will be in charge for the third game of his interim spell when England – dumped out of Euro 2016 by Iceland – host Scotland in a World Cup qualifier on Friday.
“I think Gareth Southgate is the right man to take England forward, he’s a fantastic guy,” Davies told Omnisport. “He ticks a lot of boxes for the FA. He was keen to get managing in a senior capacity. He’s worked a lot with the Under-21s, so he knows the sort of players he can bring through.
“I think the style of play needs to change for England. You look at Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp and that’s the way football is going.
“We need a manager who is going to push us forward in the major tournaments because qualifying is never really an issue for us.”
Speaking about the sacking of Allardyce, which came only 67 days after his appointment, the 39-year-old added: “Sam Allardyce is close personal friend of mine and the family. I am disappointed for him and I am sure he’s disappointed in himself.
“I’m sure he realised he made an error. I know that was his dream job, he was building up for up to 10-12 years to get that position. But he’s a big character so it will only be a matter of time before he’s back in the dugout.
“It’s hard to say whether Big Sam should have been kept on. I guess some people thought he should have, but others didn’t.
“I think we will see Big Sam soon. The game is crazy, so opportunities will arise for him to manage in the Championship maybe or even abroad.
“It’s a time of reflection for him. I won’t be surprised if he returns before the end of the season. He still has a lot to offer and will certainly be back.”
Davies was speaking courtesy of the Master of Sport Directorship course at Manchester Metropolitan University, an accredited two year, part-time course that teaches a unique curriculum tailored to meet the real demands of leading sporting organisations.