I can handle England job – Southgate

Gareth Southgate

Gareth Southgate says he has shown he can cope with the intensity of leading England in high-pressure matches.

Southgate, 46, is the favourite to replace Sam Allardyce after ending his four-match interim reign unbeaten with a 2-2 draw against Spain.

“Until this run, under this spotlight, and in matches under intense pressure, you’re never sure how it is going to be,” said the former England defender.

“I’ve proved that I can handle big occasions.”

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Southgate stepped up from his role as England Under-21s manager following Allardyce’s departure after just one game and 67 days in charge.

The ex-Middlesbrough boss oversaw a comfortable World Cup qualifying win against minnows Malta, before his team laboured to a goalless draw in Slovenia.

He took a significant step towards being appointed full-time manager with a 3-0 win against old rivals Scotland last week, before his team squandered a 2-0 lead against Spain at Wembley on Tuesday.

“I’m pleased and I think the remit we were given has been fulfilled,” Southgate added.

Where will I park my car? – Southgate

Southgate, who is due to return to his previous role as Under-21 manager, says he does not know when the Football Association will make a decision about his future.

If he is not given the senior team job, he will instead focus on leading the Young Lions into next summer’s European Under-21 Championships in Poland.

“I’ve no idea what happens now,” he said. “I’ve got a few days at home and a load of meetings in the diary for next week.

“We’ve got an Under-21 tournament next summer and the draw is being made next month.

“I’ve no idea which office I need to go in or which space I’m going to park my car in.”

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‘FA comments sound like Southgate’s obituary’

FA chairman Greg Clarke used his notes in the matchday programme for the Spain game to express his “full gratitude” to Southgate and his staff for their efforts since taking over from Allardyce.

But his words did not please ex-England defender Danny Mills, who believes they suggested his former Middlesbrough team-mate will not be given the full-time job.


“I think it is an absolute joke. Those comments from the chairman in the programme to me say you are not getting the job,” former Leeds defender Mills said on BBC Radio 5 live sport.

“Those are the comments you pick up on. Gareth has no idea what will happen next.

“He has been fantastic with the press, very open and honest, but the FA clearly have not given him an indication what happens next. I cannot believe that.

“The programme comments sound like an obituary. Gareth has clearly had no indication that he has a really good chance of getting this job.”


BBC Sport’s chief football writer Phil McNulty at Wembley

A win against Spain, albeit a much-changed Spain, would have been a nice final piece of decoration on Southgate’s CV but in reality this friendly was never going to amount to much in the FA’s calculations, barring a catastrophic loss.

Southgate has relished the role, looked comfortable in it and appears to be carrying the players with him. He is also steeped in the FA’s ways from his time at St George’s Park and in charge of England’s Under-21s.

He has carried himself with maturity, says himself he has lived comfortably with the pressure, and proved he will make the big calls by dropping Wayne Rooney in Slovenia.

Yes, he is helped by a lack of serious, compelling alternatives who would catch the FA’s eye but from the organisation’s point of view what’s not to like about Gareth Southgate in the current climate?

Southgate may have some work to do to win unanimous public backing but he has approached a tough job with a measured, mature approach that has impressed the FA.

The job of England manager was never going to be easy after the humiliation of Euro 2016 and that last-16 exit to Iceland. It was even more arduous after the brave new world under Allardyce collapsed in 67 days.

Southgate has shown enough to suggest he can handle the job – and his appointment must now surely be a formality.

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