Gareth Southgate will be appointed as England’s next full-time manager on account of the Football Association having no other viable alternatives, according to former Manchester United and Aston Villa boss Ron Atkinson.
Southgate takes charge of England once more for Friday’s World Cup qualifier against Scotland at Wembley, having stepped into the breach for last month’s matches with Malta and Slovenia following Sam Allardyce’s dramatic exit.
Allardyce’s England tenure was ultimately restricted to one game after he was filmed by undercover reporters from the Daily Telegraph giving advice on how to circumvent transfer rules related to third-party ownership.
The former Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers and Sunderland boss took the reins after a shambling Euro 2016 campaign brought about Roy Hodgson’s downfall and Atkinson believes, with the cupboard even more bare in terms of domestic coaching talent, the FA will turn to ex-Middlesbrough chief Southgate.
“I haven’t got an alternative [to suggest], I think he will get the job,” Atkinson, who recently released his autobiography “The Manager”, told Omnisport.
“I think Gareth will be a safe pair of hands, he won’t make waves or anything like that.
“It will just be a question of being in the right place at the right time because his managerial career hasn’t exactly been top drawer but who knows.
“I said the England manager should be Steve Bruce or Sam Allardyce [after Euro 2016], because I actually think the England manager should be English and I know we are limited for choice.”
On Allardyce’s departure, Atkinson believes the 62-year-old was guilty of naivety in discussing a range of matters candidly with the Daily Telegraph’s undercover team.
Allardyce also verbally agreed a fee of £400,000 to represent the reporters’ fictitious investment firm as a keynote speaker, while making it clear he would need FA clearance for the work – the latter factor something Atkinson believes could have been used more strongly in mitigation.
“There was drink flying about and he was obviously high from just getting the England job and all that, [but] he was a bit naive,” he said.
“The one thing that stuck in my mind was he qualified everything by saying ‘but I will have to run this past my employers’.
“As soon as I saw that I thought, ‘well hang on that’s a different ball game’. Alright, it may be naive and a bit silly with what he is saying there, but the very fact that he has qualified it throws a whole different light on the subject.”