Sunday 11 December 2016

Southgate gets more than he bargained for in England job

Matt Law

Published 01/12/2016 | 02:30

England manager Gareth Southgate. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire
England manager Gareth Southgate. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire

Gareth Southgate is already facing a "logistical nightmare" as he starts planning for the 2018 World Cup in Russia after finally being confirmed as England's permanent manager and admitting: "The hard work starts now."

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The English FA has appointed Southgate on a four-year contract worth £1.8m a year after the 46-year-old negotiated himself a £300,000 increase on the original £1.5m-a-year offer.

One of Southgate's top priorities is to hold detailed discussions with FA logistical, travel and security staff over planning for Russia.

Although qualifying for the World Cup is only four matches old, many of the major nations have started to lobby behind the scenes for the best locations for training bases and travel around Russia.

Challenges

Former manager Roy Hodgson attended the World Cup draw in St Petersburg in July last year with director of team operations Michelle Farrer, when early discussions took place on the challenges Russia will throw up.

Hodgson, however, left his role after Euro 2016 and Farrer departed this summer following 30 years at the FA as part of the organisation's £30m cuts.

Travel manager Helen Scott and members of the FA security team have since made research trips to Russia, but the 67-day reign of Sam Allardyce and the subsequent wait to confirm Southgate as permanent manager has meant that few firm decisions have been taken.

The departures of Farrer and other key administrative staff have also resulted in fears that the FA is short in experience and contacts when it comes to the behind-the-scenes lobbying with FIFA over where England will be based.

England's Chantilly hotel and training facility just outside Paris for Euro 2016 was not a base originally offered by the tournament organisers, but Farrer and her colleagues managed to secure it after deciding it was better than many of the official options open to the FA.

An expert in the field claimed: "The Russia World Cup will be a logistical nightmare, even though it is being played in the west side of the country.

"It will be one of the most difficult tournaments to plan for in terms of travel and security."

Southgate must quickly decide his priorities for England's Russia base in terms of location, privacy and travel access so that the FA can immediately start to highlight realistic options and properly assess different regions.

Having helped England to the top of the Group F qualifying table during his four-game spell as caretaker manager, Southgate has made it clear that qualification alone for Russia will not be enough now he has the job full-time.

"I am extremely proud to be appointed England manager," he said. "However, I'm also conscious that getting the job is one thing, now I want to do the job successfully.

"I've thoroughly enjoyed working with the players over these past four games and I think there's huge potential. I'm determined to give everything I have to give the country a team that they're proud of and one that they're going to enjoy watching play and develop. For me, the hard work starts now."

Other than holding discussions over Russia, Southgate must now confirm his backroom staff ahead of his first games in full-time charge - a friendly in Germany and a World Cup qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley, both in March.

Key ally Steve Holland will combine his coaching duties with England and Chelsea for the rest of the Premier League season before taking up a full-time role with the FA next summer.

The positions of assistant manager Sammy Lee and goalkeeping coach Martyn Margetson, who were appointed by Allardyce, appear to be in doubt. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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