There’s no doubt Gareth Southgate is doing the business with England’s Under-21s, having guided the Young Lions to the 2015 European Championship. But the former Aston Villa defender has now been given the reins for the England senior side’s next four games.
But does he have what it takes to guide the national team through a crucial four-game run which includes a hotly-anticipated clash with Scotland, the chance for revenge over Spain and two other crucial World Cup qualifiers?
We reckon he does. Here’s why…
Plenty of experience with youth
The likes of Dele Alli, Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling all starred for the senior side at Euro 2016. And Southgate has worked with all three men to great effect at Under-21 level, with Rashford scoring a hat-trick on his debut for the side against Norway.
Southgate knows England’s emerging stars well, has proven he can get the best out of them, and undoubtedly has an eye for talent. If there’s a bright young thing showing flashes of brilliance in the next few Under-21s games, he’ll know how to get them prepared for the first team.
He’s taken England to tournaments
Whether the Young Lions have been up against Switzerland or San Marino, Southgate has always produced results in his time at the England Under-21s helm.
They cruised to the UEFA European Under-21 Championship with 28 points from 10 qualifying games, the highest total of any side involved – while the two goals they conceded established the Young Lions as the continent’s meanest defence.
With the Under-21s currently top of their Euro 2017 qualifying group and unbeaten once again, there can be no doubt that Southgate can drill players to win games as well as improve technically.
He’s sure to inject passion
Few figures have been as involved in the England setup as Southgate. The Watford-born centre-back played 57 times for the national side from 1995-2004, and has returned to work with the latest crop of talent since 2013.
While he isn’t the most ‘vocal’ of managers on the touchline, there’s no question the 46-year-old has real love for the Three Lions, and combined with his experience of developing players and delivering success, he’s sure to guide England through their four-game run.
Following that dramatic victory over Slovakia in their first qualifying game, it’s also now 1/7 for Southgate’s men to win Group F – and those odds could be cut again if England can bang the goals in against lowly Malta.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing