Gareth Southgate has urged the Football Association to make a swift decision on his future as the England manager so the senior and under-21 teams can start the process of planning for their respective campaigns.
The interim head coach, who stepped into the breach following Sam Allardyce’s abrupt departure in September, will complete his four-game spell in charge in Tuesday’s friendly with Spain at Wembley. Southgate, who has sanctioned Harry Kane’s return to Tottenham Hotspur, is the overwhelming favourite to become the country’s 15th permanent manager and is only expected to make a few tweaks to the side who beat Scotland on Friday.
England will not play again until a friendly in Germany next March but, while the FA intend to follow proper process in making an appointment, there is a desire for clarity and stability up and down the coaching staff with a number of teams having effectively been disrupted by Allardyce’s exit. The senior side are in the middle of their World Cup qualification campaign while Southgate’s under-21s, being overseen by the under-20s coach, Aidy Boothroyd, have qualified for next summer’s age-group European Championship in Poland.
“It would be important for me to know what I’m doing after the middle of November,” said Southgate when asked if it was important to resolve the situation quickly so as to start planning. “I think for everybody because we’ve got the European Under-21 Championship to prepare for, and the seniors have got the next round of games to prepare for.
“Everybody is going to want to know by the end of November, middle of December, where everything’s heading so that we can decide who is responsible for which parts of the organisation’s work. Whichever body of work that is remains to be seen.
“I’m loving this opportunity. I’m immensely proud I’ve been given the chance to lead the country for three games, and there’s another one on Tuesday. And to be involved in an England-Scotland game, which was as high pressure as you can be, was a brilliant experience, preparing the whole week and emotion of winning the game. That was very, very special. But [the chance to finish what he has started] is not my decision in the end.”
Southgate added: “I’ve enjoyed what we’ve done so far. We’ve got some more detail which we want to add in for Tuesday and the players are starting to see how we build the amount of information and the need to work on slightly different things for each game. That’s the challenge for every coach but it’s for others to decide what will be the continuation for every team.”