Despite being contracted until after Euro 2024, Gareth Southgate’s future as England manager is up in the air after The Three Lions bowed out of the World Cup in the quarter-final to reigning champions France. This has made the 52-year-old ponder his future as England manager having managed at his third international tournament.
What's Next For Gareth Southgate?
What's Next For Gareth Southgate?
Should Southgate Stay?
The discussion on whether Southgate should stay or go seems to be very split with the argument for him staying is that he is doing what no England manager since Sir Alf Ramsay and getting his team deep into tournaments, winning as many knockout games in his three tournaments in charge as every other manager combined since 1966.
What Southgate has done during his time as England manager has changed the expectations of the team as when he came in, fans would go into tournaments hoping England would go all the way, but deep down knowing they wouldn’t, now, fans are expecting England to go far after reaching a semi-final and final in back-to-back tournaments, which made the France result more heartbreaking as England had a real chance to go all the way.
However, this argument is then also used against him as people doubt Southgate’s ability to beat the top teams and the evidence does suggest that as in Southgate’s tenure he has managed 18 games against teams currently ranked inside the top ten of FIFA’s World Rankings, winning four, drawing four and losing ten making it only a 22% win rate during his six years in charge.
It is a tough decision whether to stick or twist with Southgate right now, as England are a consistent performer in international tournaments under him but are struggling to make that last step and you could make the change to make that next step, but if the next manager can’t make the first steps like Southgate has done, England could miss the consistency Southgate has given in terms of qualifying for tournaments and getting through some of the knockout rounds.
Where Would Southgate go Next?
If Southgate were to leave his job as England manager, it would be very interesting to see where he would go next as he hasn’t managed a club side since being sacked by Middlesbrough in 2009 after relegating them.
What he has shown as England manager is that he can cultivate a dressing room and can create great harmony in a squad which is a great quality many managers have failed to develop but what might hold him back is that he has flattered to deceive tactically in big games which may put off some club sides.
If he were to leave England, Southgate would likely take a break from management after this stressful job, but if he were to return to club football, he would likely be able to land a job in the Championship or a team looking to avoid the drop in the Premier League.
Should England's Manager Always be English?
Whether the England manager should be English is not a new debate, but the reasoning this time is different. When Sven-Göran Eriksson and Fabio Capello were appointed it was debated whether English football needed some new foreign flair but now the debate is whether international teams should appoint someone from their own country.
This argument does have some weight to it, but that is FIFA’s ruling, and whilst it is still allowed, why would England hinder themselves by only going after English managers, who right now are either unavailable or not an obvious upgrade on Southgate.
Who Would be a Good Replacement?
The two main candidates that have been sounded out if Southgate were to walk away are Thomas Tuchel and Mauricio Pochettino, two managers with experience of the Premier League and beyond with Pochetinno reaching a Champions League final with Spurs and Tuchel winning it with Chelsea.
Tuchel and Pochettino will likely bring two very different approaches if given the job and who gets the job would be based on which way the FA would rather go.
Pochettino will probably make England a high-pressing, attacking team that will try and get the most out of the young, attacking talent that England have at their disposal right now and whilst that sounds great, what has worked in recent international tournaments has been to be pragmatic and defensively sound.
Tuchel will bring that, he is more conservative than Pochettino and will prioritise England’s defensive stability first and whilst it can be debated which is better for club football, recent international tournament football has shown that is the best way forward.
While it would be nice for the next potential England manager to be English, the two main candidates would likely be Graham Potter and Eddie Howe who don’t look likely to be leaving their clubs any time soon, as Howe is doing an amazing job at Newcastle and Potter is locked into a new long-term project at Chelsea.
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