Gareth Southgate to be considered as Roy Hodgson's successor if he excels with England Under-21s

FA technical director Dan Ashworth says former defender will be in the frame

Gareth Southgate will be considered as a possible successor to Roy Hodgson if he excels as England Under-21 coach, according to Football Association technical director Dan Ashworth.

The FA appointed Southgate as Under-21 coach last week after it decided against renewing the contract of Stuart Pearce.

Pearce himself had designs on taking over as the head coach of the senior side when he was appointed in to Southgate's role in 2007, but he fell on his sword after a terrible European Championship campaign in which England lost all three matches and scored just once.

Southgate dodged questions about whether he wanted to manage the full side at his unveiling on Tuesday afternoon, but Ashworth admitted it would be foolish to overlook the former Middlesbrough manager if he fares well in his new role.

"Every single appointment is a fair open process where everything is considered and if Gareth is doing a fantastic job as Under-21 manager and decides he would like to be considered for that job then I would imagine it would be remiss of us not to consider somebody on our own doorstep," he said.

"Any search will be comprehensive and will include their own front door, I suppose."

Southgate has spent time working at the FA and for UEFA during a four-year break from management following his sacking at Middlesbrough.

Southgate's first game in charge is against Moldova in Reading on September 5 and his squad then travel to Finland four days later.

He thinks the future is bright for the current crop of Under-21 players, who began the post-Pearce era with a 6-0 hammering of Scotland a fortnight ago.

"A lot of these guys involved in this group won the Under-17 World Cup so they have had experience of beating big nations around the world," said Southgate, who won 57 England caps.

"We have a lot of exciting players in that age group, it was a terrific performance against Scotland so that's why I haven't made many changes."

PA

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