SAMI MOKBEL: Should Gareth Southgate depart after the World Cup there is one name the Football Association should at least explore: Pep Guardiola. Unlikely, perhaps, but it’s a case of if you don’t ask, you don’t get
- England could be searching for a manager following this winter’s World Cup
- Gareth Southgate admitted that his contract does not protect him from sacking
- Pep Guardiola’s contract at Manchester City expires at the end of this campaign
- If you don’t ask, you don’t get: why shouldn’t the FA at least inquire?
The Football Association hope it isn’t a question that needs answering any time soon but where should they turn if Gareth Southgate leaves after the World Cup?
Here’s an idea: call Pep Guardiola.
Is it realistic? Maybe not. But if you don’t ask, you don’t get and if the FA can somehow persuade Guardiola then it’d be the equivalent of winning the lottery.
Should Gareth Southgate depart after the World Cup the Football Association should inquire regarding Pep Guardiola
Patriots will say ‘he’s not English’. That is true – but is it really important?
He is a generational coach, the best on the market. Surely the FA should strive for that.
Whether the Spaniard would entertain it is probably doubtful at best.
Even if he was up for it, he’d be vastly expensive – he earns £19million a season at Manchester City, a sum way out of the FA’s post-Covid budget.
But unquestionably it’s worth exploring. His contract expires at the end of the season, although City are understandably keen to extend it.
Pep Guardiola’s contract with Manchester City expires at the end of this campaign
You would think it unlikely Guardiola leaves the Etihad mid-season – but surely he’s worth waiting until the summer for?
If Guardiola isn’t possible, then why not Mauricio Pochettino? Or Thomas Tuchel?
Both are out of work, both know the Premier League and both are cheaper than Guardiola.
Pochettino is as close to captain Harry Kane as any other manager; while Tuchel has won the Champions League. Both are worth considering.
Then there’s Northern Irishman Brendan Rodgers, whose stock isn’t as high as it has been but his coaching abilities are undoubted.
Thomas Tuchel, out of work after being sacked by Chelsea, is another candidate they should consider were Southgate to depart
Of course, the merits of appointing an Englishman are obvious.
To use a modern day football phrase: it means more. And, of course it does.
In an ideal world the England manager should be English.
But in the search of authenticity the FA are limiting themselves, particularly when there is no obvious English candidate this winter should there be a parting of ways with Southgate.
Up until three weeks ago, the FA had their eye on Graham Potter as Southgate’s successor.
His work at Brighton in implementing a clear and attractive philosophy has been admired. But as we now know, Chelsea’s American owners had the same idea.
Southgate himself admitted in a press conference before the Germany fixture that he is not protected by the length of his contract
The FA will continue to monitor Potter’s as he begins his journey at Stamford Bridge – but appointing the 47-year-old is a non-starter for now.
Eddie Howe’s another the FA admire but like Potter, he’s intrenched in a high profile job at Newcastle.
Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard are still cutting their teeth at the top-level of club management – although Southgate’s largely positive reign suggests success in the Premier League isn’t necessarily a prerequisite for international football.
Lampard is doing an excellent job in rebuilding a football club in Everton that was on its knees when he arrived.
Frank Lampard will continue to be monitored by the Football Association with a view to him perhaps one day being a candidate for the job
Gerrard is finding life at Aston Villa tougher but his pedigree means he’d command instant respect from players.
But while the pair are certainly on the FA’s radar, they probably need a few more years in club football.
Steve Cooper is already a World Cup winning coach in his previous guise as England’s Under 17 boss.
He is highly-regarded at St George’s Park – certainly by FA technical director John McDermott.
What’s more, it is not beyond the realms of possibility Cooper is available after the World Cup amid tensions behind the scenes Nottingham Forest. But if we are being pedantic – Cooper is Welsh and has little top-level experience.
Steven Gerrard, like Lampard an England legend, is finding life tough this season but will one day perhaps also be considered for the role
An outside choice: Scott Parker – who implemented a clear philosophy at Fulham and Bournemouth prior to his sacking for non footballing reasons from the latter last month.
But ultimately, there is no obvious English choice for the FA if Southgate goes this winter.
There was little surprise at FA headquarters on Sunday when Southgate appeared to open the door to leaving after Qatar.
Some within the governing body suspect he may walk away regardless of how England perform at the World Cup.
But while Southgate’s comments weren’t out of the blue, they should have sharpened the mind of those at the FA tasked with sourcing his successor.
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