FA board meeting expected to confirm Gareth Southgate England appointment

Published: Wednesday 30th November 2016 by The News Editor

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The business of formally appointing Gareth Southgate as England manager began at St George’s Park on Wednesday morning.

The Football Association’s 12-strong board gathered for a scheduled board meeting at 10am, with the first item on the agenda being the small matter of ratifying the next national boss.

Southgate had already been selected by a steering committee led by FA chairman Greg Clarke, chief executive Martin Glenn and technical director Dan Ashworth having completed a three-hour interview at the national football centre last Monday, and they will outline their decision to the board.

No opposition is anticipated and the 46-year-old should instead be nodded through as Sam Allardyce’s successor, allowing the paperwork to be wrapped up ahead of a likely unveiling at Wembley on Thursday.

Southgate was present at St George’s Park, where he is based, but will not be appearing before the board.

He is expected to be handed a four-year deal worth around £2million a year, though the finer points of a break clause after the 2018 World Cup and performance-related bonuses are not likely to be made public.

Having only previously managed Middlesbrough and the Young Lions, Southgate is inexperienced at the top level but is the first former England international to hold the job since Kevin Keegan resigned in 2000.

England do not play again until March, when Southgate will lead the team for a friendly in Germany followed by a Wembley qualifier against Lithuania.

Southgate, who won 57 caps as a player and coached the under-21s for the past three years, has been the heavy favourite to land the job ever since he was asked to lead the Three Lions in an interim capacity following Allardyce’s unedifying departure.

In that time he took seven points from a possible nine in qualifying, including an all-important 3-0 win over neighbours Scotland, and went toe-to-toe with Spain in a 2-2 friendly draw.

He has also impressed in others regards, dealing deftly with the media, bravely dropping captain Wayne Rooney in just his second match and garnering good feedback for his interactions with the squad.

By the time he was summoned for interview he was the only candidate in the frame and his lengthy meeting with Clarke, Glenn, Ashworth and the advisory pair of Howard Wilkinson and Graeme Le Saux, was more of a discussion on his vision for the future than a desperate pitch for a chance.

Much of the time since has been spent debating staffing issues, with the FA eager to enlist assistant Steve Holland on a full-time basis having previously used him on a job-split basis with Chelsea.

The Blues are understood to be willing to let their employee move on but with their Premier League title challenge in full swing, would prefer to make changes at the end of the campaign.

The future of coach Sammy Lee, who was initially drafted by his close friend Allardyce and kept on during Southgate’s interim stint, has also been discussed.

The FA will also need to replace Southgate as under-21 boss.

Aidy Boothroyd stepped up from the under-20s when Southgate took charge of the senior squad, winning both games to qualify for Euro 2017, but is not guaranteed to continue, with the FA open to other ideas.

Published: Wednesday 30th November 2016 by The News Editor

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