Wednesday 21 March 2018

The key tasks facing England caretaker Gareth Southgate

Gareth Southgate
Gareth Southgate

Gareth Southgate has been placed in charge of England for their next four games after Sam Allardyce left by mutual content following just 67 days in the job.

Under-21 manager Southgate has previously insisted he was not ready for the role but now has to guide the team through another turbulent time.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at his first tasks in the role.


Allardyce's departure in such sorry circumstances following the Daily Telegraph's undercover investigation leaves the Three Lions and Football Association in desperate need of a steady hand and calming words. Players will be confused and concerned over what has gone on so soon after Allardyce breezed into St George's Park in July.

Southgate needs to allay fears and take firm control of the squad to ensure events do not continue to spiral out of control. He is a personable and approachable man and likes to keep in touch with his Under-21 players so many of the senior squad should expect to get a calming call.


The former Aston Villa defender was linked with the role in the summer before Allardyce was appointed and spoke about the job earlier this month, saying: "I was very clear in my mind that there are other things I want to do first." It is unlikely his mind has changed in the last three weeks and Southgate has ambitions to return to club management to continue his education and development.

But could taking charge of four games, starting against Malta next month, give Southgate a taste for the job? The England job remains a goal for him in the future and if successful he has the chance to make the job his, if he wants it, with a lack of serious contenders.


Sam Allardyce kept the Manchester United man as his captain and started him in the 1-0 win in Slovakia but Rooney's club form has failed to improve and he was benched for Saturday's 4-1 win over Leicester. Marcus Rashford scored his fourth goal of the season in that game and forgotten man Jermain Defoe is the top-scoring Englishman in the Premier League with four strikes.

Rooney may be England captain but he is no longer an automatic selection for United and while Harry Kane's ankle injury may ensure he remains in Southgate's first squad, the caretaker manager has had one of England's biggest calls forced on him.


The Manchester United striker scored a hat-trick on his Under-21 debut in their 6-1 win over Norway earlier this month and Southgate jokedwards that he did not expect to have the 18-year-old in his set-up for long.

Southgate has always been against rushing Rashford but admitted his form gave Roy Hodgson little option but to take him to Euro 2016 in the summer. Should the United forward, who has three senior caps and one goal, get the nod next month - and his form this season suggests he should - then he will have a fine mentor in Southgate.


The ex-Middlesbrough manager is in charge for the next four games so he has the chance to shape the team heading into 2017.

Nathan Redmond has long been seen as the next player to step off the under-21 conveyor belt and into the senior squad and the in-form Southampton man is someone Southgate knows well. Saints team-mate Charlie Austin has five goals in seven games this season and Defoe's form contrasts Sunderland's struggles. James Ward-Prowse and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have also impressed under Southgate's leadership and could be given a senior chance.

Press Association

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