Gareth Southgate’s job as England manager is safe for the foreseeable future after he received public backing from the Football Association on Tuesday.
Southgate has been the most successful Three Lions boss since Alf Ramsey led England to the World Cup trophy in 1966, helping the nation reach the Euro 2020 final and 2018 World Cup semi-finals after his appointment in 2016.
However, he has faced fierce criticism in recent weeks due to England’s disastrous Nations League campaign in which they went four games without scoring – their worst run of form since the Roy Hodgson era – and suffering their heaviest home defeat since 1928.
That came at the hands of Hungary, ranked 40th in the world, who beat the Three Lions 4-0 at Wembley to mark the first time in history England have lost by four or more goals on home soil without scoring.
The FA have now come out and publicly backed Southgate following that result, with chair Debbie Hewitt saying: ‘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 slopey shoulders, he doesn’t huff, he’s resilient and that’s what you want in an England manager.’
Reflecting on the historic defeat to Hungary, Southgate said after the game: ‘It’s my job to protect the players, they’ve been exceptional in their attitude, and the results are my responsibility.’
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