Pochettino 'open' to managing England in the future

By Sports Desk November 17, 2022

Mauricio Pochettino has hinted he would be "open" to succeeding Gareth Southgate as England manager if he were to leave the role after the World Cup.

Southgate led England to the World Cup semi-finals in 2018 before overseeing a run to the Euro 2020 final last year, with his side ultimately losing to Italy in a dramatic penalty shoot-out at Wembley Stadium.

However, Southgate has faced severe scrutiny following England's dismal Nations League campaign earlier this year, and he was jeered by his own supporters after a defeat in Italy in September.

During his time with Tottenham, Pochettino was credited with playing a key role in the development of several England internationals, including captain Harry Kane and defender Eric Dier. 

The Argentine has also spent the majority of his coaching career in England, enjoying almost nine years at Southampton and Spurs combined, and he has refused to rule out leading the Three Lions.

"Of course, my relationship with England has always been very good," Pochettino told the Athletic.

 "We have a very good relationship with the academies, trying to develop young players for the national team. I feel so comfortable here. You never know what happens. I am open to everything."

Asked about England's qualities ahead of the World Cup, he added: "Their mentality, they are so brave, they are so offensive, they go to provoke the opponent and try to dominate.

"They don't care about the team that is in front of them. They try to deliver their job. I like how they approach the game, and they have very good players."

England begin their Group B campaign against Iran on Monday. The Three Lions have won their opening match at six different World Cups, though their last two such victories have come by a single goal (2006 v Paraguay and 2018 v Tunisia). 

Related items

  • Sydorchuk hopeful of keeping Ukraine's Euro 2024 fairytale alive against Belgium Sydorchuk hopeful of keeping Ukraine's Euro 2024 fairytale alive against Belgium

    Serhiy Sydorchuk is hopeful of keeping Ukraine's fairytale journey at Euro 2024 alive heading into their final group game against Belgium. 

    The Blue and Yellow conclude their Group E campaign in Stuttgart on Tuesday, knowing a win will secure their place in the last-16 of the tournament. 

    Slovakia face Romania in the other game, and with all three sides level on points heading into Matchday 3, the emphasis on winning has heightened. 

    Sydorchuk said his team know a triumph in their first meeting with the Red Devils would see them through to the last-16 as one of the top two, but he did not want to tempt fate.

    "When you say something very loudly, the echo will be very loud as well, so I think we should be silent and we should do what we can do, and we'll see tomorrow at 8 PM what we could do," Sydorchuk said. 

    Ukraine are looking to reach the knockout stages of a major tournament for a third time, having done so at the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2020.

    All four of their final group stage games have ended 1-0 – winning the first in 2006 against Tunisia but have lost their last three (vs England at Euro 2012, Poland at Euro 2016, and Austria at Euro 2020).

    Sydorchuk knows the importance of a victory for the people of Ukraine and is hopeful that securing qualification alleviate some of the misery caused by the Russian invasion of his homeland.

    "What will it mean for the country is that we will go on with this fairytale, this really fantastic fairytale for several more days for the whole country, because we are at war for almost 900 days," Sydorchuk said.

    "For the Ukrainians, every game, every event like that means a lot, it means for them that they can come back to the usual pre-war times." 

  • Southgate remains his own 'biggest critic' amid outside noise Southgate remains his own 'biggest critic' amid outside noise

    Gareth Southgate admits he is his own "biggest critic" amid scrutiny of England's performances at Euro 2024 so far.

    The Three Lions edged to a 1-0 victory over Serbia in their opener before being held to a 1-1 draw against Denmark.

    However, their performances at the tournament so far have drawn a lot of criticism from fans and pundits alike as England have struggled to find their rhythm.

    Harry Kane and Jarrod Bowen have already responded to some of those questions, singling out Gary Lineker's comments on the team, but Southgate remains calm amid the outside noise, saying he finds it easier to ignore ahead of their meeting with Slovenia on Tuesday.

    "I'm oblivious to it [criticism from pundits]," Southgate said. "It's not important to me. What's important to me is guiding this group of players through the tournament.

    "We're a high-profile team with expectations, and I'm very comfortable living that life.

    "I don't need to engage in the external, I'm my own biggest critic. The players are the same. There's nothing to be gained.

    "We're brutally honest about what we need to do better - that's how you coach a team and how you improve."

    "The mood is very good. We know that there will always be external noise, but it shouldn't affect us. What is important is the internal. Performance is what we're focussing on.

    "Of course, we want to hit a different level. There has been an honest appraisal of what we've done and how we need to be better. There are some fundamentals of how we play as a team, that we need to get back to."

    Southgate has also faced injury problems among defenders in the build up to the tournament, though it looked like some of those worries could be assuaged as Luke Shaw returned to training on Monday.

    The manager has ruled him out of their game against Slovenia on Tuesday and says he is particularly happy with what he has seen defensively from his side so far.

    "The game before the tournament against Iceland we were a little bit open, so we were trying to find the right balance of being aggressive, but also perfect defensively," he added. "It's an important part of tournaments, you've got to defend well.

    "Our penalty box defending has been good, but we haven't used the ball well enough. We want some turnovers higher up the pitch. But the defending of our box has been first-class!"

  • Scotland denied '100% penalty' against Hungary, says Clarke Scotland denied '100% penalty' against Hungary, says Clarke

    Scotland head coach Steve Clarke was adamant his side should have been awarded a penalty as their Euro 2024 campaign ended with a 1-0 defeat to Hungary in Stuttgart. 

    Kevin Csoboth scored the winning goal in the 10th minute of injury-time to put Scotland out of another major tournament in the group stages. 

    However, things could have been much different for Clarke's side.

    Stuart Armstrong looked to have skipped beyond Hungary's Willi Orban in the 80th minute, before the RB Leipzig defender grappled across the midfielder, with both tumbling inside the area. 

    Referee Facundo Tello waved away Scotland's appeals, and a subsequent check by VAR deemed the challenge not worthy of awarding a spot-kick. 

    “It was 100% a penalty," Clarke said. "Somebody, somewhere has to explain to me why that's not a penalty. It’s a one goal game, we get the penalty and it could have been a different night.

    “I've got other words, but I'm not going to use them. I don't understand how VAR can look at that and say it's not a penalty.

    “In a European competition, it may have been better to have a European referee but we had European VAR and maybe a referee didn't see the challenge clearly on the pitch, so what's the purpose of VAR if they are not going to come in on something like that. It was a penalty.”

    Having qualified for successive European Championships, this was Scotland’s 12th major tournament group stage, and in 50% of those they have failed to win a single match – at the 1954, 1958, 1986, and 1998 World Cups and EURO 2020 and 2024.

    “We gave everything, there’s nothing you can fault there. It was a very tough game against a good opponent," said Clarke. "A very close game that was always going to be decided by the first goal. You could tell that after half an hour.

    “Unfortunately for us when we opened up towards the end of the game to try and chase the winner, that we felt we needed to get to the next stage, we got caught on the counter.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.