Belfast Telegraph

Gareth Southgate set to make changes as England boss

By Rory Dollard

Gareth Southgate declared "the hard work starts now" after finally landing the England manager's job, with the make-up of his backroom team and a review of team culture the early priorities.

By the time he inked a four-year deal yesterday afternoon, Southgate's appointment had long been considered a fait accompli and his nomination was nodded through during a Football Association board meeting at St George's Park.

With just one club job on his CV, a three-year stint at Middlesbrough that ended in relegation and dismissal, Southgate landed the job primarily due to his work with England Under-21s and the measured, decisive approach he took to his four-game interim stint.

That left him in a position of strength when it came to hammering out the finer points of his contract, which is thought to be worth around £2m per year - less than his immediate predecessors but more than initially forecast and with performance-related bonuses available.

There has been no public mention of a break clause after the 2018 World Cup but it would be a surprise if such provisions did not exist. Other questions remain open, such as the nature of assistant Steve Holland's future employment.

Southgate wants his right-hand man to be a permanent member of staff rather than the current job-split with Chelsea.

It is also unclear whether Southgate will push for other changes to the coaching staff.

Sammy Lee was a close ally of Sam Allardyce and, although he has remained in post thus far, Southgate may have other ideas.

Southgate will also confront the issue of free time and the conduct of players on England duty, which came under the spotlight during the previous international break.

Pictures of captain Wayne Rooney socialising with fellow guests in the early hours at the team hotel were splashed all over the newspapers, with other squad members reportedly seen clubbing in London. No disciplinary action was taken.

But a promised review of protocols around how the team spend their leisure time with England can now take place with the managerial issue settled, and the issue of Rooney's captaincy may well be revisited before the team play again in March.

"There's now a long period to really start to think about the kind of culture we want to create," Southgate said. "Although I'm very pleased with what we did (over the past four games) I feel the need for improvement if we want to be successful. I think there are certain ways of working that we can start to establish that will give us a better chance of being successful moving forward.

"I am extremely proud to be appointed England manager. However, I'm also conscious that getting the job is one thing, now I want to do the job successfully.

"For me, the hard work starts now. I've thoroughly enjoyed working with the players and I think there's huge potential. I'm determined to give everything I have to give the country a team that they're proud of.

"Having had the opportunity to prove myself over a small sample of games I've been able to show I can handle the role. I felt we'd proved to people I was capable of preparing the team for some big matches."

FA chief executive Martin Glenn outlined why he shared that assessment.

"He's somebody we know well but it's his understanding of international football and the development set-up at St George's Park that is important," he said.

"He performed extremely well during the four games he was in temporary charge and impressed during a tough interview process.

"Gareth is a great ambassador for what the FA stands for, he's a very good football tactician and a leader, but beneath that he's a winner and that's important."

Ashworth went on to hint that Southgate would now be given more leeway to tailor aspects of the job to his liking.

He said: "I'm sure Gareth will be looking at those four games (in temporary charge) and starting to think about some of the changes he'd want to make for March and going forward. Like any manager in any position, they all want to stamp their personality on it."

Belfast Telegraph


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