Can Southgate solve England’s attacking problem?

Rooney SouthgateGareth Southgate was given the role as England boss after the Sam Allardyce debacle despite many believing it’s a job too big for Under-21 boss, but he could stake a claim to take the hot seat if the next four games run smoothly.

Much has been said in regards to English football at present, the performances in France this summer were shambolic with defeat to Iceland, narrow draws against Slovakia and Russia as well as scraping a result against Wales.  And then the Allardyce episode.

Southgate is no stranger to the FA and their expectations as he is the official Under-21 manager, potentially something England need right now, a manager who can come in steady the ship and work their hardest to get things right on the pitch.

Southgate does not curry favour; does not attempt to be one of the boys, but is a hugely popular and “upright” personality, with a tenacious desire to succeed. He has done it his own way; carefully building a career as a defender, earning 57 caps for England and learning how best he can go about being a manager.

That route is one followed by Slaven Bilic, the West Ham United manager, who coached Croatia’s under-21s before taking over their national team. “It helped me a lot,” Bilic says. “With Croatia after the 2006 World Cup some of the players were a bit too old and straight away I put Modric, Corluka, Eduardo in.”

Certainly a calm and composed manner both on and off the field although if instructions aren’t carried out correctly you could see a different side to him, especially with senior players, he will need to have the respect of the dressing if he is to stand any chance of landing the job on a full time basis.

He’s inherited a group of young, exciting talented group at the Under 21 stage with a number of prospects looking like potential stars to challenge the senior set up, so the questions will remain as to whether he can do it for the senior side.

Problems in the final third await Southgate
The one issue Southgate will have to resolve is in the final third, in the summer and in Allardyce’s only game as manager it is clearly evident we still lack a cutting edge when going forward.

Wayne Rooney once again flattered to deceive after an indifferent night against Slovakia while the likes of Kane, Sterling, Lallana and Henderson all struggled to carve up real openings.

With no Harry Kane in the squad with injury it gives Southgate the opportunity to look at Daniel Sturridge, Jamie Vardy or potentially Marcus Rashford who has been a bright spark for United this term, the former Middlesbrough boss certainly needs to bring a spark to the England side.

Despite promptly announcing that Rooney will remain as his captain, should Southgate follow Mourinho’s steps and drop the forward?

I would still have my doubts as to whether it would be best to drop him, no doubt he still has quality although it would certainly help if he had a position and stuck with it rather than being made a jack of all trades, master of none.

We’ve seen in the past how England have struggled to break down the so called ‘lesser sides’ with a slow build up and a lack of tempo from back to front. No doubt it’s an issue Southgate won’t be able to achieve in a few qualifiers although if he can implement his ideas and we start to see those in the next few games, he could be considered.

Four games to potentially put his name in the frame for the England job, with his experience with the FA is he the best fit or is the step up in class just too much too soon?

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