Gareth Southgate? I'm not holding my breath.

Published: Monday, 21 November 2016

Apologies that I've been so quiet lately and thank you for inspiring me to get going again. I had no idea how popular these musings had become! I'm flattered.

So Gareth Southgate passes the interview process to become England manager.  He was one of one in the running. I wish him well, but was there really nobody else? If not, why not? What a farce. Greg Clark, Dan Ashworth, Martin 'I'm not a football man' Glenn, Howard Wilkinson and Graeme Le Saux really had their work cut out didn't they?

I can hear them now 'Right gentlemen, let's get down to business. First item on the agenda is the new England manager. Let's make this an exhaustive and thorough process. We've got to get it right this time. How many candidates do we have?'  'Er, just the one Mr Chairman'. Honestly, if it wasn't so serious it would be funny.

I like Gareth, but he wouldn't be my choice. I'd have done everything in my power to persuade Glenn Hoddle to take it. At the very least, he should've been considered - interviewed maybe? Now there's a thought!

Southgate is a nice guy, and that's going to be his problem. He's 'mini' Hodgson, he'll play to the gallery too much. Roy didn't start like that, but he sure as hell finished like it, making decisions that the Press boys were screaming for.

Southgate dropped Rooney for his second game in charge v Slovenia, after he'd just skippered England to a 2-0 win v Malta. Why? Worse, he paraded him in front of a baying media to explain the decision. Why? He had him apologise for having a few drinks last weekend - with other England staff - whilst 12 players went on the missing list. Why? I'll tell you, because he was playing to the crowd. For me, it showed weakness, not strength. Back your man Gareth. What happens now we know that Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana were in a strip club in Bournemouth?

Significantly, both knew they'd be playing against Spain, Henderson as captain. In the furore surrounding Rooney, whose face on the front page of a tabloid sells papers, it's been overlooked that he knew he WASN'T going to play against Spain. I'll get back to this in a moment.

As for Southgate's 'audition' - a 3-0 win over the worst Scotland team in living memory and a 2-2 against Spain's reserves - did that really fill us full of optimism? I read one piece that suggested  he'd ushered in a 'new era' - giving youth a chance. Really? Have we forgotten that Hodgson took the youngest squad to the Euro's? That worked out well didn't it?!?

As for Rooney-gate. Come on, give the guy a break. He did nothing wrong. I repeat - he knew he wasn't going to be playing against Spain. Instead of leaving the hotel, he had a few drinks, a full seven days before he was due to play again, with a few members of the FA staff! So what.

I'm told he DIDN'T gate crash a wedding party, it was more the other way round. He was approached by the wedding party. He spent time with the married couples' guests - how refreshing in a modern era when our heroes are almost untouchable. What a disgraceful fuss about nothing.

I've said before, I don't understand the obsession with destroying our last English modern day icon. When he's gone there'll be more of an understanding of what he achieved during an extra-ordinary career. Respect guys please, a bit more respect.

As for Southgate - I genuinely wish him well, but I'm not holding my breath.