Gareth Southgate could be short-term fix as FA talk up Arsene Wenger’s skills for England manager
Gareth Southgate has been lined up to take charge of England on an interim basis with the Football Association prepared to wait for up to a year to secure the permanent successor to Roy Hodgson — potentially opening the door for Arsene Wenger to be offered the chance to take the job.
With Hodgson resigning his post within minutes of the humiliating Euro 2016 last 16 exit at the hands of Iceland on Monday evening, FA chief executive Martin Glenn has confirmed that he will form part of a three-man panel — alongside technical director Dan Ashworth and FA vice-chairman David Gill — to identify the man charged with taking England to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Glenn, Ashworth and Gill are set to meet in London later this week to outline the criteria for the next manager, but the search will not be restricted to a domestic candidate with Glenn admitting that there is no ‘perfect’ English option currently available.
However, with the FA determined to recruit the best possible person, the organisation will not seek to force through an appointment ahead of the start of England’s World Cup qualifying campaign in September.
And Glenn admits that, while a swift appointment would be the ideal scenario, a caretaker-manager cannot and will not be ruled out.
“We’d like to get one (manager) for the first World Cup qualifier, but if we don’t, we have an interim plan in mind,” Glenn said. “We are not talking about names today (for the interim post), but it would be a pretty obvious one to pick.
“We just don’t know yet who the runners and riders would be for the job. We are going to scope out, which we start at the end of this week with David Gill and Dan.
“We need an inspirational manager who can harness all of the resources of the English game, the big resources, everything we have now got at St George’s Park to make us more resilient in tournaments.
“That I think is the brief, but we want to work that through — but it is an inspirational manager and management team to get the best out of a squad which has got high potential.”
Prising Wenger from Arsenal is likely to prove difficult, with the Frenchman previously rejecting advances from the FA.
Wenger’s contract at the Emirates is due to expire at the end of next season, however, and Glenn has previously admitted his belief that he would be a strong candidate for the England job.
“Arsene Wenger has been here since 1996,” Glenn said. “Has Arsene got a fantastic understanding of the Premier League, of English players, of the English media, of the expectations of England?
“Absolutely. So would you rule him out? Probably not, but he might not want it.”
Jurgen Klinsmann, the USA manager who guided Germany to the semi-finals of the 2006 World Cup, is another contender.
Southgate’s prospects of becoming England manager on a full-time basis should not be discounted, with the former Middlesbrough boss, who guided the Under-21s to success at this summer’s Toulon Tournament, highly regarded by Ashworth.
And Glenn, who twice insisted he was ‘not a football expert,’ admits that a decision on the appointment will be made once Ashworth has canvassed leading figures in the game, including managers, players and former players such as Alan Shearer.
“We are going to canvas opinion across the game,” Glenn said. “It’s an important appointment and we’ve obviously got to get it right. We kick the process off with the three (of us).
“Dan Ashworth will lead the search process, reporting back to me and David in terms of checking out what his criteria are.
“Dan is the guy that is primed to go and do that, but the process will involve a wider consultation within the game.”