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Gareth Southgate discusses preferred backroom team during England interview

Southgate wishes to retain the services of Steve Holland, his assistant, and Aidy Boothroyd, who has stood in as Under-21s boss

Ian Herbert
Chief Sports Writer
Monday 21 November 2016 17:45 GMT
Southgate would like to appoint part-time assistant Holland on a full-time basis
Southgate would like to appoint part-time assistant Holland on a full-time basis (Getty)

Gareth Southgate is thought to have discussed his preferred England backroom team with the Football Association on Monday, during a formal ‘interview’ at which he also heard what would be expected of him when he is appointed as manager of the national team.

The Football Association offered no indication of how the three-hour St George’s Park interview, which ended at 1pm, had gone, but with no other candidates called for interview they are expected to ratify his appointment at their board meeting on November 30.

The discussion with Southgate is likely to have touched upon a future regime governing players’ conduct in their free time while on international duty and the negative image created by the several players who were given free time on Saturday night. Any tightening up of that regime would come into force after the new manager is appointed and is an operational decision, rather than one for the board later this month.

Despite suggestions that Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson have been absolved of blame for attending a strip club, there have never been any plans to single out individual players for investigation. No player was in breach of a curfew of an order not to drink after the 3-0 win over Scotland at Wembley.

Southgate’s pitch for the job was heard by FA chairman Greg Clarke, chief executive Martin Glenn and technical director Dan Ashworth, with League Managers’ Association chairman Howard Wilkinson and former England left-back Graeme Le Saux also present in an advisory capacity.

A key part of the discussion revolved around his proposed backroom team and other staffing issues. Chelsea coach Steve Holland – who Southgate went to great lengths to thank publicly after the 2-2 draw with Spain last week - has been working as the interim manager’s assistant on a part-time agreement. A full-time move to the FA staff could be on the cards now.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is keen to keep Holland but Southgate believes the kind of job-split arrangement that served Gary Neville during the Roy Hodgson years is insufficient.

Southgate is also likely to have discussed the future of acting England Under-21 manager Aidy Boothroyd and is thought to be an advocate of the former Watford manager continuing in that role. Southgate has been in charge of the under-21 side since 2013 and is a keen supporter of a unified international pathway, adopting similar patterns of play throughout the age groups which Ashworth has been committed to. It is thought he would want to work closely with his under-21s successor and be granted a significant say in who should succeed him.

The former FA chief executive Mark Palios said the interview was likely to have been more of a briefing for the 46-year-old Southgate as to the FA’s expectations of him. “The FA has to be seen to be going through the process," he said. "Maybe it is a process to iron out some things they expect of an England manager, so it is more of a briefing for Southgate than an interview. Everyone knows Gareth. They know him from around the FA, they know him through his involvement with the under-21s."

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