England boss Gareth Southgate has come under increased scrutiny after four dismal UEFA Nations League games, including a humiliating home defeat to Hungary last week.
Gareth Southgate received an overwhelming public vote of support from his FA bosses.
Football Association chairman Debbie Hewitt has insisted Southgate has improved the whole England set-up ‘beyond recognition’ and is the best manager the country has had for 55 years. It was a clear sign that Southgate retains the FA’s full support despite the toughest weeks of his six-year reign as England boss.
England fans chanted ‘Southgate Out’ and ‘Sacked in the morning’ after the humiliating Nations League defeat to Hungary last week, which is the first time fans have turned against Southgate.
Southgate signed a new deal until December 2024 late last year and must now change the public mood ahead of the World Cup in Qatar this winter. But Hewitt offered his full support and said: “The first thing I would say, my personal opinion of Gareth, he is by and on the pitch the most successful England manager we’ve had in 55 years.
“The fact that he took us to the semi-finals of the World Cup and the final of the Euros. What people don’t see as much is the Gareth at camp and the culture he has created Before Gareth was England manager, there was certainly no pride in wearing the England shirt.
“There were the club rivalries that we had heard about. The players do not get along. He changed that beyond recognition and I saw it first hand. I would also say that I don’t just work in football, I work in business and I’ve worked with many GMs and Gareth’s skills – his high IQ and high EQ – would make him a GM in any any domain. And that resilience and that responsibility, the two qualities that I admire most about him is that he takes responsibility, there’s no sloping shoulders, he doesn’t breathe, he’s resilient and he’s got it. is what you want in an English manager.
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Hewitt revealed she spoke to Southgate after the defeat to Hungary – which was the fourth game of the Nations League campaign this month with England drawing two and losing two without scoring a goal in open play – and also doubled down on giving him a new contract. The FA have been criticized for jumping in too soon and giving Southgate a new contract last year rather than biding their time, which is a mistake they have made in the past, including with Fabio Capello ahead of the Cup World Cup 2010 which went wrong.
Hewitt added: “Absolutely, I spoke to him, yes. Gareth’s reaction, as with everything with this kind of conversation, was that it’s his responsibility, there’s always something to learn. That’s why it’s refreshing to work with someone like that because that openness to learning is quite remarkable and quite unusual in any field.
“I think the contract is a bit of a red herring in a way, because I don’t think we would have discussed it if we hadn’t had the recent run of games. Obviously we did. after proper discussion and reflection. The fact that there was a stumble does not automatically make us say, “should we have given him a contract? It’s a red herring. We trust Gareth for all the reasons I’ve described and I think that’s the most important thing, and it’s especially important to approach the biggest tournament.