England interim coach Southgate wants clarity over future

London, Nov 14 (IANS) England’s interim head coach Gareth Southgate has asked the country’s Football Association (FA) to take a decision about him within the next two weeks.

Southgate has said that a quick decision on the issue of making his position permanent will help England prepare better for the upcoming qualifiers for next year’s European Under-21 Championships apart from helping to focus on the upcoming matches of the senior England squad.

England had defeated Scotland 3-0 in a World Cup qualifier on Friday night and another favourable result in the international friendly against Spain on Tuesday at the Wembley Stadium could provide a chance to the FA to make Southgate’s appointment a permanent one.

The FA’s governing body is already understood to be strongly minded about handing him a three and a half year contract with a break clause after the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

“I think (we need that) for everybody because we’ve got the European Under-21 Championships to prepare for and the seniors have got the next round of games to prepare for.

“Everybody is going to want to know by the end of November, middle of December where everything’s heading so that we can decide who is responsible for which parts of the organisation’s work. Whichever body of work that is remains to be seen,” Southgate was quoted as saying by the Independent on Monday.

“It would be important for me to know what I’m doing after the middle of November,” the 46-year-old added.

While striker Harry Kane has left the squad and returned to his club Tottenham Hotspur to work towards match fitness, Daniel Sturridge, Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford, Wayne Rooney and Theo Walcott are the attacking options for Southgate.

England have not called up any replacements for Kane.

“It would be easy to say: “Scotland is a pivotal game in what we are trying to do so we won’t take any risks playing from the back. We won’t encourage the team to play, play percentage football and with better players we win the game.

“Well, we didn’t want to do that, we wanted to play in a style which we believed was right in the long term, a style that would encourage our younger players. There is more risk in that,” Southgate said.

“There are signs of how we would like to play. We have certain attributes in the team that lend themselves to playing in a certain style. In the top two thirds of the pitch we did that really well (against Scotland).”

Southgate however, wants more circumspection when it comes to playing out from the back-line, especially from Manchester City defender John Stones.

“I think it is decision-making and positioning sometimes, recognition on when to really commit to it and when to play past the first press,” he noted.

“You play the big nations and you play against better teams with better quality players and so the game becomes more even at times. Until we develop as a team, we are playing against teams who are further advanced in their way of playing. That’s the challenge. That’s why those games are tougher.”

England are trying to recover from what has been described as a disappointing campaign at the European Championship earlier this year where they crashed out of the tournament after being defeated by Iceland in the pre-quarterfinals.

–IANS

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