England interim manager Gareth Southgate “should be given the job” permanently, says captain Wayne Rooney.
Southgate secured his second win in three matches as his side beat Scotland in a World Cup qualifier at Wembley.
“He’s done all he can and I’m sure he’s the frontrunner,” said Rooney. “From my point of view he’s in pole position.”
England sit top of Group F after four matches and Southgate said he has “loved” his time in charge but added the decision was “out of my hands”.
- England prove too strong for Scotland
- You’re hired? Has Southgate done enough for England?
- Should this be the end for Strachan?
I need time to reflect – Southgate
Southgate was asked to take charge of the side for four games – ending with Tuesday’s friendly with Spain – in the wake of Sam Allardyce’s departure after 67 days in the job.
He says he has delivered on the Football Association’s plea to “keep the country top of the group”, and added that he felt England’s use of the ball was “fantastic” in spells against Scotland.
The Three Lions do not play another qualifier until they host Lithuania on 26 March 2017 and Southgate, 46, is heavy favourite with the bookmakers to be permanent manager by then.
“I want time to go away and reflect,” added the former Middlesbrough manager. “I have loved doing it but it is an opportunity for everyone to have time [to think]. The FA can decide what they want to do.”
Analysis – appoint him now or wait?
Ex-Scotland winger Pat Nevin on BBC Radio 5 live:
Why do you have to give him the job now? There is no reason to do it. Wait until the summer and you will have all sorts of options, one being Gareth still.
England are going through anyway but you might be turning down the opportunity to get [Arsenal manager] Arsene Wenger or someone of that ilk.
BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty:
England’s interim manager deflected all talk about his future in the build-up to this qualifier – but he will know he is effectively in an impregnable position after this win.
The Football Association wants to give the job to Southgate and the only way the waters could have been muddied would have been by a defeat or undistinguished draw against this very average Scotland side.
Southgate’s biggest supporters would be hard-pressed to suggest this was a sparkling performance that hinted at a golden future for England, but it is surely enough to earn the 46-year-old the chance to plot the way ahead to the next World Cup.
He was under a little pressure after a poor performance in the goalless draw in Slovenia, but this was just what he needed – in result terms at least – and it is now surely only a matter of time before his appointment is confirmed, irrespective of the result of Tuesday’s friendly against Spain at Wembley.
Will Strachan get time to ‘debrief’?
Headed goals from Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Gary Cahill sent Scotland to their biggest defeat against their arch-rivals since 1975.
Gordon Strachan’s side are back in action against Slovenia in March but now boast one win in four qualifiers – a run which has seen the former Celtic manager face questions over his future.
“If you think I’m worried about myself, you’re completely wrong,” said Strachan, 59, who became national team boss in 2013.
“It’s nothing to do with me. What I’ve got to think about is everybody in that dressing room. I’ll go and talk to my family and we’ll debrief with everybody else.”
The former Celtic manager has lost 12 and won 15 of his 33 games in charge, and insisted the “game was cruel” to his side at Wembley, adding: “They’ve given everything.”
Captain Darren Fletcher said the players “believe” in Strachan, adding: “We know how passionate he is. He doesn’t deserve that and hopefully he gets the chance to put it right.”
Analysis – is that it for Strachan?
Chief football writer McNulty:
It was almost impossible to find an optimistic Scot at Wembley before kick-off – and sadly their worst fears were confirmed as the pressure mounts on Strachan.
The combative 59-year-old was subjected to heavy criticism after a draw at home to Lithuania and a 3-0 loss in Slovakia, even before this latest reverse.
There was no lack of heart or effort from Scotland, but there is quite simply a lack of quality in their squad, reflected in the eight changes he made here, to no avail, in an attempt to find a spark.
Strachan may ask, with some justification, if anyone else could do any better with what he has at his disposal – whether the SFA and Tartan Army agree is another matter.
Ex-Scotland striker Steven Thompson on BBC Radio 5 live:
I don’t think Gordon Strachan can continue. That’s back-to-back 3-0s. Find me a positive. There are none. The heads went down like they did in Slovakia and that’s a problem.
Ex-Scotland striker Nevin:
I do not think Gordon Strachan is the problem. That was as good as Scotland could have played – 3-0, it is unfair, but there is no embarrassment. England are a decent side and were clinical.
Paper consensus – Southgate’s the choice
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