Gareth Southgate has not won much as a manager but he captained every club he represented and his former colleagues believe he has enough grit to lead England
By Richard Foster for The Agony and the Ecstasy of the Guardian Sport Network
Gareth Southgate’s path to becoming England manager has not followed the conventional route. Previous incumbents racked up many successful years in club and international management before being considered for the role. Roy Hodgson, for example, managed well over a dozen clubs and countries before being appointed national manager in 2012. Southgate’s only job as a club manager was with Middlesbrough between 2006 and 2009 and he had to ask for special dispensation from the Premier League to take on the role as he did not hold the required coaching qualifications. After Middlesbrough were relegated in 2009, Southgate was dismissed early into the new season and did not re-emerge until 2013, when he was appointed England Under-21 coach.
Last June, after the apocalyptic loss to Iceland ended Hodgson’s spell in charge, Southgate said he did not want the job. When he was approached about succeeding Sam Allardyce back in September, he accepted the interim role for four matches as he was still not convinced about taking on the job long-term. This reluctance may have counted against him had there been any other serious contenders but, as he was the only candidate interviewed, the FA were left with little choice but to give the 46-year-old a contract.
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