Gareth Southgate has delivered a huge blow to the FA’s succession planning by rejecting the chance to become England’s caretaker manager, according to reports.
FA chief executive Martin Glenn had claimed that Southgate would be an ‘obvious choice’ to take charge of England on an interim basis for the opening World Cup qualifier in Slovakia on September 4.
But England Under-21 boss Southgate, who was sounded out about the prospect of a possible caretaker role by technical director Dan Ashworth in early May, never gave any assurances that he was willing to take the job.
And after Hodgson’s resignation in the wake of Monday’s shocking defeat by Iceland at Euro 2016, Southgate has decided he does not want to take the job on a temporary basis – given that he has nothing to gain and everything to lose from such an appointment.
Southgate, 45, knew that any such move would be unpopular with the public and media – given that his only previous managerial job ended in relegation at Middlesbrough and that the Under-21s bombed at last summer’s Euros.
Glenn, Ashworth and former Manchester United chief executive David Gill are emanating on an extensive search for Hodgson’s successor.
But Southagate’s refusal to take over on a temporary basis, and their decision to cut ties with Gary Neville means they have no credible in-house candidate to take over in the mean time.
That means the search for a new manager must gather haste – with Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri, former Paris St Germain chief Laurent Blanc on the shortlist, as well as speculative interest in Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger.
Southgate had fallen out with Ashworth after he was stripped of his responsibilities for England’s younger age groups after last summer’s Under-21 tournament failure.
And he is now unwilling to bale out his employers in a job he feels could only harm his future prospects.