Gareth Southgate the man to rescue ‘laughing stock’ England, says Teddy Sheringham
The former Under-21 manager is expected to be handed the role on a permanent basis after ending his four-game spell as caretaker with a draw against Spain this week
Teddy Sheringham believes England are currently a “laughing stock” and joined fellow former internationals Des Walker, David James and Steve McManamman in backing Gareth Southgate to be handed the role on a permanent basis.
Caretaker manager Southgate ended his four-game unbeaten tenure, which began in the wake of Sam Allardyce’s high-profile exit following a newspaper sting after just one match in charge, with this week’s 2-2 friendly draw with Spain at Wembley.
The former Middlesbrough manager is widely experted to be handed the role having been in charge of the Under-21 side since 2013, although the Football Association have still set up a panel including former technical chief Howard Wilkinson, chairman Greg Clarke, chief executive Martin Glenn and current technical chief Dan Ashworth to appoint Allardyce’s permanent successor.
“I think when you are paying big money, probably the biggest in the world for a manager, which is what we have done over the last eight years, you have got to get the best and we haven’t got the best,” said former Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur striker Sheringham, who won 51 caps for England.
“If the FA are going to push the boat out, they should really get the best man for the job. English football is a kind of laughing stock at the moment, we have had different spells over the years of being a laughing stock, and it is not nice to be an Englishman and have people talking about you in the way they do at the moment, so we need to change things and hopefully Gareth will be the man to do that.
“I really like Southgate, if it is going to be an Englishman; I think Southgate is the prime candidate to do it.”
Southgate would be the third successive full-time English manager following experiments with foreigners Sven-Goran Eriksson and Fabio Capello either side of Steve McClaren’s uninspiring tenure after Roy Hodgson oversaw the calamitous Euro 2016 exit before Allardyce’s short-lived stint.
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Sheringham, though, did reiterate his long-held belief current Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger would be his ideal choice if he was given the remit by the bosses at Wembley Stadium instead of messers Wilkinson, Clarke, Glenn and Ashworth.
“I have vouched for Arsene Wenger for the last five or six years, you have to be just amazed how Arsenal play every week, they have a lovely way of playing,” Sheringham, who played with an England Masters team at Hong Kong Football Club this week alongside Walker, James and McManamman.
“I think England need to be taught how to play how he gets his teams to play. He has been in charge for 20 years and you can’t help be impressed with it, and I think he would be fantastic to be in charge of England.”
But former England defender Walker offered caution over opting for other foreign coach, including Wenger despite his 20-year spell in charge of Arsenal.
“There are a lot of good managers out there, but sometimes a foreign manager does not always work just because they are successful as he is managing foreign teams, but the England team is just English, so it is difficult for a foreign manger to understand an English mentality and how we play,” said Walker, who won 59 caps for England.
“Arsene Wenger has been there for a long time so he understands what English football is all about, but he doesn’t buy too many English players so that might tell you a story. I think Gareth is a good choice and I see no reason why not.
“Gareth Southgate has been the U-21 manager for a while, so it seems the obvious choice for him to step up and take the job permanently, he has come in and they have won games.”
This week’s draw with Spain left Southgate with two wins and two draws from his four games in charge having earlier beaten Malta and Scotland at home and drawn with Slovenia in World Cup qualifying to leave England with an unbeaten record in group F and on course to qualify for Russia 2018.
“I think Gareth should get the job,” said former Liverpool goalkeeper James, who won 53 caps for England.
“He ticks boxes as he is an Englishman who has played for England, he has played in the Premier League and understands the pressures of being a Premier League player, and he has done it with the U-21s so he has done it on the international scene.”
A timeline has not been officially set out to confirm the appointment with England next in action in a March 2017 friendly against Germany ahead of a World Cup qualifier at home to Lithuania.
Southgate is believed to want a deal through until Euro 2020, although reports suggest an contract will be at a significantly lower salary than seen in the past after Allardyce’s £3 million (HK$29m) was less than Hodgson after Capello and Eriksson were paid in the region of £4m with the FA keen to reduce costs after the role was one of the most lucrative in international football.
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“They should qualify from the group, it is a fairly easy group for England, but the main thing is when they get to the tournament, as the last three tournaments have been very disappointing, so if Gareth takes the job which I have no doubt he will, lets hope when they get to Russia in 2018 they do themselves proud,” said former Liverpool and Real Madrid midfielder McManamman, who won 37 caps for Engalnd.