With Sam Allardyce gone after a tabloid sting, it’s time once again for a change in England national team.
Who will step up to take arguably the most poisoned chalice in football? Let’s take a look at the three men who could replace England’s most short-lived boss.
As the man in the hot seat (temporarily), it’s very much advantage Gareth Southgate in the bid to become the next England manager.
The FA have appointed the former Middlesbrough boss on an interim basis. He’s been promised the role for the next three qualification games. Luckily – or unluckily – for him, it’s three games England should win. Malta, Slovenia, and Scotland provide the opposition, and three wins would give Southgate a good claim to the England throne.
Even if he does get three wins, there will still be many who will question his suitability to take on the biggest management role in the country.
Southgate is a man with only one management gig on his CV. He started at Middlesbrough, where he had ended his playing career. He led the Boro to two mid-table finishes, which was a good achievement for a side who were cutting costs after years of big spending. Things ended sourly, though – his third season would see relegation for his club.
Southgate was then sacked the season after going down, despite being just one point behind the top of the Championship. Many saw it as a controversial decision at the time. The former England defender spent time away from the front lines, mostly with punditry on TV.
Despite his perceived failure with Boro, he retained his status a bright young manager. He has restored his reputation since his days at the Riverside, as manager of England’s Under 21s.
He took up the post in 2013 and has been an influential figure in many key England stars’ development. Just last year Southgate reached the finals of the U21 European Championships.
Southgate knows the FA inside and out, and it wouldn’t be a big adoption for him. He’s been groomed for the job in the last few years, and now could be the time for him to stake his claim.
Chances of getting the job 4/5
There’s not a lot that Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger hasn’t done in the game.
Win the Premier League – check. Unbeaten season – check. Play expansive and attractive football – check.
Despite the success of his first decade at Arsenal, the last 12 years have seen his beloved Gunners fail to mount a proper title challenge, despite many false dawns.
Wenger has seen key players leave over the years, and has often been unable to spend big money on like-for-like talent. It may be that he hasn’t had the money, or it may be stubbornness on Wenger’s part. After all, he has long railed against what he sees as “financial doping” at the highest level. It’s perhaps this stubbornness that’s frustrated the Arsenal fans for so long.
Whereas the fans would once watch in awe as likes of Thiery Henry and Robert Pires strutted their stuff in North London. Lately, players of that quality have been replaced by more prosaic players like Olivier Giroud and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. That isn’t a knock at the quality of player Arsenal still possess, but overall the quality is nowhere near the level it once was.
Fans of the North London outfit have been crying out for more domestic dominance. Only two FA Cup wins have come since they last won the league, and there is a demand for more from Arsenal supporters.
England may, therefore, come at the perfect time for Wenger. With his contract running out at the end of the season, the Frenchman could be available as Southgate’s temporary tenure finishes. Should Arsenal again fail to land the Premier League title, a mutual parting of ways might be best for all concerned.
Wenger’s loyalty to his players – sometimes to the point of exasperation for many fans – is well known and could serve him well as England boss. That, coupled with a distinct style of play and an eye for promising youngsters, suggests that Wenger could end his career in England with a successful tenure in the international arena.
Chances of getting the job: 3/5
Bournemouth’s manager Eddie Howe is a man whose name has been mentioned in connection to the big job in the last week. He was linked in the summer, too, before Sam Allardyce got the job, though his relative inexperience counted against him.
Of course, he does not have much more experience now, but there’s no doubt that he’s future England manager material. The key question is whether or not this is the right time for Howe. There’s no doubt he has some impressive achievements already on his CV for such a young manager, but he may want to continue his good work at Bournemouth.
The 38-year-old was given his first taste of management with Bournemouth in 2008. The decision to give their former defender the top job proved to be a masterstroke. The young boss led Bournemouth to a great escape from relegation – despite a 17-point deficit when taking over.
His next two years were spent building a squad that eventually gained promotion to League One. He departed Bournemouth for a brief, unsuccessful stint at Burnley, but was soon back at his spiritual home. He led the club to another promotion into the Championship, and then the Premier League, where the club remain.
In just under three years, Bournemouth have gained two promotions and a birth into the Premier League. A mammoth achievement considering their shoe-string budget.
Now, his vibrant side are impressing everyone in the Premier League. They secured unexpected survival in their first season, and Howe’s reputation continues to grow. It may be too early according to some, but the FA can not overlook his man-management and potential for much longer. If the call does not come now, it will surely come soon.
Chances of getting the job: 2/5