England vs Spain: Gareth Southgate willing to stake future on World Cup performance

Southgate is expected to be appointed the national side's manager on a full-time basis and could be in place by the end of the month

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Gareth Southgate has given a strong indication that he is prepared to accept a break clause being included in the England contract the Football Association is preparing to offer him, making his medium term future contingent on a strong performance at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Southgate’s four-game trial reached its conclusion against Spain at Wembley on Tuesday night, with the 3-0 win over Scotland on Friday all but guaranteeing him the job on a permanent basis on what is expected to be a salary of £1.5m – half that of his predecessor Sam Allardyce.

With the official recruitment process which the FA says will now ensue seen as little more than a technicality, Southgate could be in place by the end of the month - in line with the plea he made at the weekend for a rapid conclusion to the process.

The 46-year-old wants to be in charge until Euro 2020, though the FA have initially only considered a deal up until and including the 2018 World Cup. The compromise is a four-year deal with a break clause that can be triggered by either party after the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Southgate indicated on Tuesday that he accepted that idea.

“It is always difficult for any organisation to discard performance in a tournament or in a qualifying campaign,” he told the BBC. “What there has to be is a clear plan of the way we want to work moving forward and how the team is expected to play. Also to be assessed, as I’m being assessed, in everything you’re in whether that be dealing with the media, preparing for matches or working with the players. 

“As a manager, you will always be judged on all of the those things and I understand that. People will want to see progress in every area.”

Southgate, who has been in charge of the Under-21s since 2013, stepped up to the senior role following the sacking of Sam Allardyce in September.

He said on Sunday that the development of what he sees as a new generation would take time.

“This team, as I’ve said a few times over the past few weeks, has a lot of work to do, a lot of improving to do,” he said. “Outside of Wayne Rooney, Gary Cahill and Joe Hart, we don’t have players with loads of caps. We don’t have players with huge big match experience with their clubs. They have to understand that there’s lots to improve upon. But there’s good potential and I like the attitude and mentality of the players because they want to work and get better, they want to embrace new ideas but it won’t be a straightforward path.

“I dreamt of playing for England, that was always my lifetime’s dream. When you become a coach, you just focus on improving, learning all of the time, wanting to be as good as I can be at everything I deliver. There are always short, medium and long term plans in place. What I’ve tried to do over the course of the… games is not to think short term in terms of how we want to play.”

Comments