Gareth Southgate feared he had missed his chance to manage England

Gareth Southgate feared he had missed his chance to manage England

first_img Marina Hyde Gareth Southgate: ‘Let Germany defeat be a warning for England’ Gareth Southgate Share on LinkedIn Topics Read more Share on Twitter “I feel hugely fortunate now,” said Southgate on the eve of England’s final Group G fixture against Belgium as he reflected on the decision made in the 48 hours after that defeat to Iceland. “It wasn’t what I wanted to do. I wanted it to go well for Roy, just as I later wanted it to go well for Sam [Allardyce]. So I didn’t think, when Roy left, there’d be any enthusiasm for an internal appointment, and I knew that my record with Middlesbrough – even though, for me, what I achieved with them in the first two years was better than anything I’ve done in the last couple of weeks – would be held against me as a manager.“You’re always judged on results without necessarily all of the context and all the understanding of where you are, that you’re learning.“But I remember Chris Coleman [then of Wales] after the European Championship saying: ‘You’ve got to go for things in life, and not be afraid to fail.’ That resonated with me because I’d probably just ruled myself out of taking on the [England] job. You know, if I was talking to young people or my own kids, I would be saying exactly those things, but I wasn’t living it myself. So I felt, then, actually I had to make sure that, if there are opportunities in life, you’ve got to go for them. Even as a young player, you maybe only get one World Cup. You assume there’ll be more, but you might only get one because of an injury or something else.”The suggestion at the time was that Southgate resented being taken for granted and harboured real concerns over how taking on the role, even in the short-term while the FA sounded out prospective candidates, could possibly benefit his future career. If successful in the qualifiers, he would merely end up handing over to the “first-choice” given he was clearly not being considered as a contender for the permanent position at that time. If the qualifiers went poorly, his reputation could be damaged beyond repair. So the perceived “yes man” duly made it clear he would say no. Share on Facebook Share via Email Back in Chantilly, Glenn had actually been seeking “an inspirational manager who can harness all the resources of the English game, everything we now have at St George’s Park, to make us more resilient in tournaments”. Hindsight suggests those are precisely the kind of qualities Southgate, overlooked at the time, may possess.In the two years since, the now 47-year-old has helped repair the disconnect that had gaped between team and public post-Euro 2016. “Our biggest tests are ahead,” he said. “But I feel there has been a process of rebuilding confidence and enthusiasm in the country behind the team. But I don’t think that’s just about winning matches. It’s about the way the guys conduct themselves.“Our public aren’t fools. They see when a team are together, they see when a team are proud to play for them. They see the style of play as well, and the different attributes that these boys have to maybe teams 15-20 years ago.“We’ve got a different type of player coming through our system. They’re working with top coaches, they’re more tactically aware, they’re technically better. They can really go and knock some barriers down of how we’re perceived. We’ve seen that with our junior teams and there’s no reason that can’t filter into our first-team.” Belgium His instincts then were to remain with the under-21s, with whom he had just won the Toulon tournament with a squad that included Jordan Pickford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, before possibly pursuing another job in club management to broaden his development. The FA had not seen that coming. As it transpired, another unanticipated crisis three months later – the dismissal of Allardyce after one game in charge following a sting by an undercover reporter – would lead the FA to come begging once again. With the national team in dire need, Southgate found it harder to refuse.The favourable impression made over the seven-week interim stewardship that followed convinced him it was a role he would embrace on a full-time basis, and he has led this team to the World Cup, successive group wins in Russia, and a contest against Belgium in Kaliningrad to decide who tops the group, with a knockout fixture to follow. “I knew when somebody needed to step in with a couple of days’ notice [after Allardyce was sacked in September 2016] that I was the best person to do that and keep the team on track,” he said. “And then I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would.“But, also, I could see that the players were hungry enough and humble enough to be ready to take on board some of the ideas we were going to try to implement. So I thought it was worth having a go for. That’s probably the biggest thing I’m pleased with.” World Cup 2018: complete guide to all 736 playerscenter_img Read more news World Cup Share on Messenger England World Cup 2018 England’s unknown unknowns leave us clueless about their World Cup trajectory Read more Share on Pinterest Share on WhatsApp Gareth Southgate has admitted he feels “hugely fortunate” to be leading England into the knockout phase of a World Cup after fearing he had passed up his chance for ever to manage the national team exactly two years ago on Thursday.The Football Association’s chief executive, Martin Glenn, had publicly and confidently suggested Southgate was “a pretty obvious one to pick” as an interim solution in the grim aftermath of England’s humiliating loss to Iceland at Euro 2016 while the governing body performed its intended exhaustive and global search to identify Roy Hodgson’s successor.The comments were made at a hastily arranged press conference at the team’s base in Chantilly, with no prior consultation with the then under-21s’ manager, and with England’s opening World Cup qualifier against Slovakia only nine weeks away. Yet, within hours, Southgate had made it known through the Guardian that he had no intention of taking the job as a stop-gap. Reuse this contentlast_img

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