Gareth Southgate spoke openly and impressively as England’s interim coach spoke to the media on Monday.
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Southgate, 46, has taken charge for England’s four remaining games in 2016 following Sam Allardyce‘s departure last week.
Allardyce was caught up in The Telegraph’s investigation into corruption in English soccer and following his comments regarding how to circumvent FA rules of transfers, Big Sam lost his job as England’s manager after just 67 days in charge.
Now, Southgate must pick up the pieces and the former England international defender, who has been coach of England’s U21 side for three years, faces 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia in the next week, plus a huge qualifier against Scotland next month and a friendly against Spain.
Speaking to the media about his role as interim boss and if he wants the position to become permanent, Southgate was calm and collected with his answer. Remember, when Roy Hodgson was fired this summer, Southgate ruled himself out of the running for the top job as he didn’t think he was ready for it.
“The opportunity to do this is something no one will be able to take away from me, and I’m excited by the challenge,” Southgate said. “In my view it’s a wonderful job to have for whatever period of time.”
The former Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough defender also discussed the current situation with Allardyce losing his job and allegations of other coaches in English soccer involved in corruption.
“I have to say I’m involved in a sport that I love and an industry that at times I don’t like,” Southgate said. “The detail of what happened last week, I’m not too au fait with. I’ve heard names mentioned and bits of information but I don’t have the detail so I don’t think I can speculate about what might or might not have happened. There’s lots about the industry of football that I don’t like but it’s a sport I love, representing my country was something I loved and they’re the bits I have to focus on.”
Honest. Refreshing. Low-key.
Southgate may not be many people’s choice to take the England job on a full time basis past the next month or so, but after working with many of England’s youngsters in the youth ranks, perhaps he could be the right man for the job. Only time will tell but he has experience of playing for England in the semifinals of a major tournament, which he can pass on to his young squad.