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England U21 v Italy U21: If this is Southgate’s England audition, he needs to prove he’s up to it

23 Jun | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
England U21 v Italy U21: If this is Southgate’s England audition, he needs to prove he’s up to it

With such a paucity of candidates to take over from Hodgson, the U21s boss needs to step up and show he can be credible successor

Who will be the next England manager?

Roy Hodgson will be 68 when his current contract expires after Euro 2016. Of course he could well continue for another two years after that, or even longer – but he will have to be replaced at some point, and if it does happen next year, just who is there who could take on the job?

Assuming the FA will stick to English coaches, let’s have a look at the contenders.

You suspect Harry Redknapp’s chance has gone – and anyway, surely that, ahem, troublesome knee would rule him out.

Sam Allardyce? The closest he will come was losing out to Steve McClaren back in 2006.

What about McClaren? He’s done much to rebuild his ‘Wally with a Brolly’ reputation since that night, with a league title win in Holland and good work with Derby. But can you really see him being handed the reigns again after what happened last time?

Other once-touted candidates like Alan Curbishley, Steve Coppell, Steve Bruce and Stuart Pearce have all fallen out of jobs and out of fashion.

Outstanding performance at club level is the traditional route into the job, but a quick look at the Premier League table shows that the highest-finishing manager last season was Garry Monk with Swansea. Clearly a good coach, but with just a season and a half of experience under his belt, it’s far too early for him.

Below Monk, it’s Alan Pardew who finished 10th with Palace. Plenty of experience there of course, but on the other hand, he hasn’t actually ever won anything. Well, that’s not strictly true, he did lead Southampton to the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in 2010, but that is unlikely to have pulses racing among the FA hierarchy or the man on the Clapham omnibus.

Come to think of it, how many currently active English managers have won a major trophy? Well if we’re only counting the FA Cup, League Cup, Champions League, Europa League or a major domestic league, then there is only one. One! And his name? Steve McClaren. The League Cup with Middlesbrough in 2004, and the Dutch League with FC Twente in 2010.

There are one or two young English managers coming through the system: Eddie Howe at Bournemouth is one, having done superbly well to drag Bournemouth up through the divisions to the Premier League. But at just 37, it is far too early for him.

Really who else is there? Hodgson’s current assistant Gary Neville? Not one single match of management experience under his belt.

David Beckham? Erm, move along please, nothing to see here.

Gareth Southgate then must be in the FA’s succession planning thinking. A former England international himself, who knows all too well the heartbreak of the traditional penalty shoot-out exit (“Gareth Southgate, the whole of England is with you… oh it’s saved!”), and at least he does have three years club management on his CV – even if he did oversee Middlebrough’s relegation from the Premier League.

12/1 – Gareth Southgate to be next permanent England manager

Still, he has done well with the U21s. At least until now, winning nine of ten qualifiers, and getting the team scoring in every match of his stewardship – until drawing a blank against Portugal in their opening match.

Jesse Lingard got things back on track against the Swedes, scoring in a 1-0 win, but for long periods of the match the young Lions looked more like kittens chasing a ball of yarn.

If the FA do want Gareth Southgate to be the next England boss, he needs to start showing he is up to the job – starting with the clash with Italy on Wednesday.

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