England has appointed Gareth Southgate as the England Manager on a four-year deal, and Phil Neville heads a short list to replace him as the next U21 coach.
There will be no fanfare, no 24-gun salute and no cars will roar around the city high streets with union jacks flying out of the windows as they blare their horns. Gareth Southgate is the new England manager, and the mood seems to be, “So what?”
I am not privy to the short-list of candidates that Football Association (FA), CEO, Martin Glenn, grilled over the past few weeks, but judging by the bookmaker’s odds it was a list Lilliputian in nature.
The bookies rarely get these things wrong – preferring to keep their misdemeanours to Brexit or Donald Trump type matters – and so it was the case when they installed Southgate as the odds-on favourite to take the reins from Sam Allardyce.
Southgate will become the 14th man to drink from the poisoned chalice. He will also be the lowest paid. The England hierarchy using the excuse that they promoted Southgate from within to hand him a £1.5m a year, four-year deal. I know it’s a mind-boggling amount of money, but given that it’s 50% lower than Big Sam’s wages, and that there was nobody else who they could have appointed, I would have told them to rub Vicks in their eye.
News reports suggest that Southgate’s wages could have been lower, but his negotiating team managed to eke out a few more pounds under the condition that should his side blow a gasket at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, they can get rid of him. When you consider England haven’t won a knockout game at major finals for over a decade, you can reliably cut Southgate’s four-year deal down to two.
Was it a Great Appointment?
I will never forgive him for missing THAT penalty in Euro 96, but he does have my backing. He doesn’t get my vote of confidence because he is the best man for the job. After all, he has only ever managed one club – Middlesbrough – before appointed as the coach of the U21 side. I am backing him because I think the England Manager should always come via this route.
England has proven over the years that drafting in the Big Time Charlie doesn’t work. Neither does the other FA trick of appointing an old guy under the auspices that experience is vital. It’s a superb time for a change, and I think in future the England U21 boss should be appointed with the intention to succeed the leading man in due course.
So Who Will Replace Southgate as England U21 Boss?
The bookies are a little slow out of the traps offering odds for the England U21 appointment. The current incumbent is Aidy Boothroyd, and his main competition seems to come from Phil Neville and Paul Clement.
To me, this is a no-brainer. Phil Neville has vast amounts of experience playing for Man Utd, Everton and England – but most importantly he is a winner with six Premiership titles, three FA Cups, and a Champions League medal in his trophy cabinet.
But if Neville is going to be taken seriously as a future England manager he has to knock his Match of the Day appearances on the head before his credibility goes right out of the window.
Now if that’s not England manager material I don’t know what is?