I have to admit I have had my doubts about England appointing Gareth Southgate on a permanent basis.
However, most of those doubts were caused by his rather safe personality. I have called him ‘Mr Beige’ in the past, but maybe I have been harsh on the guy.
Southgate was given a four-game trial, which will come to an end on Tuesday night with a friendly against Spain.
His record of two wins and a draw is not awful, although considering the opposition could have been better.
Inevitable that Southgate will be boss
England’s 3-0 win over Scotland on Friday night was somewhat flattering. However, there now seems to be an acceptance that Gareth Southgate is likely to be appointed England boss on a permanent basis.
The four-game trial seems like hogwash. Why on earth did the FA not just give Southgate the job in the first place? It always seemed like he was the hierarchy’s first choice, so why wait four games.
There were even unconfirmed claims that Southgate would get the job even if the Three Lions lost against Scotland on Friday night. He is the guy with the England DNA, apparently. He is certainly a man the FA can trust.
I am not sure what FA officials mean when they talk about England DNA. The England team have not seemed to have had an identity for decades. There seems to be a big mythical plan of how to get England back to world domination at the FA HQ.
In reality, the England team never seems to real have a plan. They are just hap-hazard and hope for the best against every team they face.
A short mixed managerial career
Gareth Southgate is in no way perfect or regarded as a world-class coach. His only real managerial experience came in a short stint as Middlesbrough boss and his role as England under-21 boss.
His stint at Boro was perceived as a failed one. However, as under-21 boss he seems to have done a decent job. He has helped the team achieve decent results, while all the time seeing the country’s best young players fast-tracked to the senior team.
Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford was the prime example, making his senior debut prior to actually playing in the under-21’s. Southgate was always fighting against the odds to make his team successful.
A win ratio of 80.6 per cent from 31 under-21 games suggests he is not a bad manager after all. He certainly knows the international game both as a player and as boss of the under-21 team.
He is an intelligent guy
Southgate may come across as posh to the average England fan. However, is being well spoken and not being a Neanderthal really such a bad thing? Southgate is an intelligent guy and maybe he might just be the guy to help the team out of its current malaise.
Gareth Southgate could just be a man with a plan. Surely brains are a key attribute for an international boss? If the appointment of Sam Allardyce is anything to go by maybe it is not, though.
England are likely to coast their group and easily qualify for the World Cup. The Three Lions are currently odds of 1/10 to top the group and in truth Mike Bassett could have guided England to qualification for Russia 2018, such is the poor nation of England’s group opponents.
The Three Lions are not overly blessed with options for the managerial role. Gareth Southgate looks like a safe and stable choice. Maybe the FA should just take away any of the doubt prior to the Spain game and give Southgate the job.
Should Gareth Southgate be given the England job on a full-time basis?