Monday 23 October 2017

Southgate and Holland poised to get their chance

Gerrard may also have role to play in England set-up, writes Ian Herbert

England manager Gareth Southgate Picture: PA
England manager Gareth Southgate Picture: PA

Ian Herbert

The Football Association will today place England's future into the hands of Gareth Southgate and Chelsea coach Steve Holland - both advocates of an ambitious brand of football which the English governing body believe will help reconnect the side with the nation.

The appointment of Southgate as England's 15th permanent manager is expected to be agreed by lunchtime, after the vision which the 46-year-old outlined at his interview last week is put to the rest of the ten-man board by executive director Martin Glenn and non-executive chairman Greg Clarke, at St George's Park in Staffordshire. The ratification could result in the formal presentation of Southgate as manager within 24 hours.

Southgate argued strongly at his interview that Holland, who is five months his senior and has worked with him at U-21 level since 2013, should be engaged on a full-time basis as his assistant.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte does not want to lose Holland, so a compromise has been reached which will see the coach share his role with England for the rest of the season before joining the national team on a full-time basis.


The new, young England coaching set-up could also include the recently retired Steven Gerrard, with whom the FA is understood already to have established contact, with the former Manchester United and Everton player Phil Neville another who may bring playing experience. Other personnel issues to be resolved include the role of the former Liverpool coach Sammy Lee, who was brought onto the coaching staff by Sam Allardyce and remained with Southgate when his predecessor was dismissed two months ago.

It is also unclear whether U-20s manager Aidy Boothroyd will remain in charge of the U-21s as a permanent replacement for Southgate, despite having won his two games with the older age group. Boothroyd has seen the group qualify for Euro 2017 in Poland, with the draw to be made in Krakow tomorrow. But the combination of Southgate and Holland does create a clear idea of the high-energy game which England want, blending pressing with an emphasis of passing out from the back.

Holland's brief time in management at Crewe Alexandra from 2007-8 ended in failure but the 46-year-old counts the club's former manager Dario Gradi as a key influence whom he has said extolled an attacking philosophy, paying little attention to defensive training because "we'll score one more than them."

At Chelsea, Holland worked as assistant to Andre Villas-Boas, whom he has also cited as an influence. "Andre likes his football played with style and skill," Holland has said. "His Porto team [also] played their offensive football and scored lots of goals but also had a big emphasis on what they were doing out of possession as well."

Among Southgate's first tasks will be to deal with the fall-out from the controversy which surrounded Wayne Rooney, who was pictured mingling with guests at The Grove hotel, where England were based, during his free time following the 3-0 World Cup qualifying win over Scotland.

Rooney's representatives are understood to have been in contact with the FA and are assured no disciplinary action will be taken against him. Glenn has promised an investigation into the conduct of all players and staff during their free time.

Southgate wants to be in charge of England until Euro 2020, though the FA have initially only considered a deal up until and including the 2018 World Cup. The compromise is a four-year deal with a break clause that can be triggered by either party after the Russia World Cup. He is expected to command a basic annual salary of £1.5m - half that of his predecessor Sam Allardyce. (© Independent News Service)

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