England manager Southgate has full support, says FA chair

By Sports Desk June 21, 2022

Gareth Southgate has the full support of the Football Association after chair Debbie Hewitt provided an impassioned defence of the "high IQ" and emotionally intelligent England manager.

England have made it to the World Cup semi-finals and Euro 2020 showpiece under Southgate, the latter of which the Three Lions' first final appearance at a major tournament in 55 years.

But pressure has mounted after a dismal start to their Nations League campaign in June, losing to Hungary twice either side of draws with Germany and Italy to leave England in danger of relegation.

The most recent 4-0 thrashing to Hungary was the first time England have lost a home match by four or more goals since March 1928, when they lost 5-1 to Scotland.

Hungary also became the first team to score four goals in an away match against England since the Hungarians themselves won 6-3 at Wembley in November 1953.

Frustrated supporters could be heard chanting "you don't know what you're doing" at Molineux towards Southgate, who later vowed to not out-stay his welcome in charge.

With the World Cup in Qatar just five months away, Hewitt was quick to outline her support for the 51-year-old despite ongoing questions over his tactics.

"My personal opinion on Gareth is that he is, by the facts on the pitch, the most successful England manager we've had for 55 years," Hewitt told reporters at a news conference.

"The bit people don't see as much is the Gareth at camp and the culture he's created.

"Certainly prior to Gareth being the manager of England, there was not the pride of wearing the England shirt. There were the club rivalries we'd read about. The players not getting on.

"He's changed that beyond recognition and I've seen that first hand.

"I'd also say that I don't just work in football, I work in business and I've worked with a lot of chief executives and Gareth's skills — his high IQ and high EQ — would make him a chief exec in any sphere.

"That resilience and accountability [are] the two qualities I admire most. There are no slopy shoulders, he doesn't huff, he's resilient and that's what you want in an England manager."

While offering her support publicly, Hewitt says the reaction of Southgate to private conversations expressing the FA's backing also highlighted his credible demeanour.

"Gareth's reaction, as in everything with that sort of conversation, was that it is his accountability, there's always something to learn," she continued.

"That's why it's refreshing working with somebody like that because that openness to learn is quite remarkable and quite unusual in any sphere."

Southgate took charge, initially as caretaker manager, in 2016 and impressed after Sam Allardyce's one-game tenure, with the former Middlesbrough manager earning the permanent job.

After England qualified for the World Cup in Qatar with victory over San Marino in November 2021, Southgate was handed a three-year extension, keeping him as Three Lions' manager until December 2024.

The World Cup will start just one year after he signed the long-term extension and debate has been sparked over whether conducting negotiations was sensible before the results and performances in that tournament are known, but Hewitt assures the correct decision was made.

"I don't think we would be discussing [the contract] had we not had the recent series of games. Clearly, we did that [agreed the new deal] with proper discussion and thought," she added.

"The fact that there's been a stumble does not make us automatically say 'should we have given him a contract?' It is a red herring.

"We have confidence in Gareth for all the reasons I described and I think that's the important thing. And it's particularly important going into the biggest tournament."

Related items

  • Talking points ahead of the FA Cup fifth-round action Talking points ahead of the FA Cup fifth-round action

    The midweek FA Cup fifth round fixtures will give several Premier League clubs the opportunity to make up for significant setbacks over the weekend.

    Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag cannot afford another defeat after Saturday’s late drama against Fulham, while Chelsea must respond to Sunday’s Carabao Cup loss to Liverpool.

    Here, the PA news agency looks at the talking points around the key fixtures.

    United need a response

    Saturday’s stoppage-time home defeat to Fulham has put Manchester United under pressure going into Wednesday’s trip to Nottingham Forest. With a trip to the Etihad up next on Sunday, United need a positive result to avoid going into a derby amid another round of crisis talks at Old Trafford. With Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s buy-in now complete and an overhaul of football operations under way, the pressure on Erik ten Hag will only ramp up, and he cannot afford to see their only remaining hope of silverware this season come to an end.

    Liverpool to clear their hangovers

    There were emotional celebrations for Liverpool and their outgoing manager Jurgen Klopp after Virgil van Dijk’s header late in extra time won the Carabao Cup with a 1-0 win over Chelsea. Victory keeps Liverpool, top of the league by one point from Manchester City, alive in their bid for a quadruple as they remain among the favourites for both the FA Cup and the Europa League. Even with 120 minutes in their legs from Wembley, few would bet against them in a home tie against Championship Southampton.

    Chelsea to bounce back

    Mauricio Pochettino told his Chelsea players they needed to feel hurt by their Carabao Cup final loss, in which their performance in extra time prompted Gary Neville to call them “blue billion pound bottle jobs” on Sky Sports. Pochettino is yet to get a consistent tune out of his expensively-assembled squad, and Sunday’s defeat means the Argentinian has lost all three major finals he has reached while managing in England. The FA Cup offers an opportunity to put that right and their first opportunity to show a response comes on Wednesday, when they are favourites to see off Championship Leeds at Stamford Bridge.

    Guardiola looking forward to intense period

    As Manchester City return to Kenilworth Road to face Luton, where they had to come from behind to win 2-1 in the league in December, Pep Guardiola said he was relishing the decisive part of the season as his side look to replicate last season’s historic treble. Few would blame him given City’s enviable habit of reeling off long winning runs at this stage of a campaign. “Tomorrow is a final, like every game in Premier League and of course in Champions League,” Guardiola said. “The decisive part of the season is here ahead of us, in front of us, not far away, and we are going for it.”

    Newcastle seeking consistency

    Eddie Howe’s side slipped to ninth place with Saturday’s 4-1 loss to Arsenal, a mile off the sort of form that got them into the Champions League last term as a season best described as up and down continues. The best hope of returning to Europe next season may well lie with the FA Cup – a competition Newcastle are desperate to win to end their 55-year wait for major silverware. Although away from home, they should be firm favourites away to a Blackburn side still seeking a first win under new manager John Eustace. “This season can still be very special for us,” Howe said. “But we have to make it happen.”

  • We’re going for it: Pep Guardiola relishing crunch period as Man City eye titles We’re going for it: Pep Guardiola relishing crunch period as Man City eye titles

    Pep Guardiola is relishing the decisive phase of the season and has promised Manchester City are again “going for it”.

    The treble winners are in strong contention to repeat last season’s glories in the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.

    March will be a crucial month with a derby against Manchester United followed by clashes against title rivals Liverpool and Arsenal. They will also look to wrap up their place in the Champions League quarter-finals as they host FC Copenhagen leading 3-1 after the first leg of their last-16 tie.

    Prior to that comes an FA Cup fifth-round trip to Luton on Tuesday and Guardiola is looking forward to that and the coming weeks.

    The City manager said: “So after this game, February is over. Just two-and-a-half, three months to end of the season and we’ve arrived here still being there (in the competitions).

    “Tomorrow is a final, like every game in Premier League and of course in Champions League.

    “The decisive part of the season is here ahead of us, in front of us, not far away, and we are going for it.

    “It’s better to play for this than being 10th in the table and (having) no chance for that. The feeling is that if you lose – bye-bye. It’s so nice.

    “The problem is September, October – you see the expectations far, far away. In that moment you don’t think about any titles.

    “We don’t even now. I would say how we’ll define the end of March, beginning of April depends on what we have done this next month. Tomorrow and this month will (determine) our options.”

    City have close to a fully-fit squad for the trip to Kenilworth Road after Jack Grealish returned to the squad as an unused substitute at Bournemouth on Saturday following a groin injury.

    Defender Josko Gvardiol is now the team’s only notable absentee with an ankle problem and Guardiola is hopeful he will return soon.

    City needed to come from behind to beat relegation battlers Luton away in December and Guardiola is anticipating another tricky encounter.

    He said: “It will be even more difficult. We saw all the games played there against the top, top sides, and the reason why is clear – football goes in the direction Luton play, so, so aggressive.

    “It doesn’t matter if you are at top of the league, the bottom or in the middle, (they have) courage to play and face the challenge without any fear.

    “And after, it’s not just that. They have played direct channels but at the same time they have the ability. I think they’ve improved a lot since we met them there with their build-up play and the patterns are so clear.”

  • Everton’s 10-point deduction for breaching financial rules reduced to six Everton’s 10-point deduction for breaching financial rules reduced to six

    Everton have had their penalty for breaching Premier League financial rules reduced to six points following an appeal.

    The Toffees were hit with a 10-point deduction last November after an independent commission found they had exceeded permitted losses under the league’s profitability and sustainability rules (PSR) by £19.5million over an assessment period ending with the 2021-22 season.

    An independent appeal board has now cut that by four points, which moves the club on to 25 points in the table and up to 15th place.

    The club face a second PSR complaint for breaching rules over the assessment period running to the end of last season.

    The complaint was laid on January 15 and under standard directions for PSR cases agreed by top-flight clubs last summer, the commission hearing in that case must conclude no later than 12 weeks after that complaint, which would be April 8.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.