In an overwhelming display of support, FA chief executive Martin Glenn has told Gareth Southgate that he will keep his England managerial job irrespective of England’s Russia 2018 World Cup result and even if the three lions lose all the group stage matches.
“Gareth has a long-term contract,” said Glenn. “He’s not looking at Russia as a free pass. The World Cup’s a really important staging post for our development, I think. We go out there wanting to win it but also being realistic. No one wants to have a bad World Cup but we’re confident he’s the right guy to take us through for the next few tournaments”.
Glenn went ahead to give instances of England’s victories at the Under-17 and Under-20 World Cups, and emphasised the need to not make a kneejerk reaction.
He added, “We’re going to do it in a way that’s sustainable. So we’re going to make sure that we’re picking the kind of players that can do their best in Russia and continue to kick on in 2020 and 2022. What we’re doing is making sure that players that have made it through to the first team by 21, 22, have had lots and lots of tournament experience. So those under-17 winners and under-20 winners will be coming through and they are serious competitions to win”.
England are part of Group G containing Belgium, Tunisia and the World Cup debutants Panama and if they didn’t go out of the group to reach the knockout stage, it would be embarrassing enough for fans to call for Southgate to be sacked. However, in encouraging news to the manager, the board has given him a public vote of confidence and has insisted that they believe in the long-term development and trust Southgate with the future.