FA has ‘succession plan’ already in place for Gareth Southgate’s England exit | OneFootball

FA has ‘succession plan’ already in place for Gareth Southgate’s England exit | OneFootball

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The Independent

·12 June 2024

FA has ‘succession plan’ already in place for Gareth Southgate’s England exit

Article image:FA has ‘succession plan’ already in place for Gareth Southgate’s England exit

The Football Association haven’t yet spoken to any potential successors to Gareth Southgate, nor received any approaches for the England manager, but say a succession plan is in place. The 53-year-old has strongly suggested he will leave the role after Euro 2024 unless the team wins the competition, and even that may not keep him in the job. The FA will still seek to review the tournament as a whole no matter what happens, and would naturally be keen to keep Southgate on. That is a sentiment shared by the squad.

Should that still see Southgate leave, Newcastle United’s Eddie Howe has been seen as the first-choice replacement, with Graham Potter also a strong consideration. FA chief executive Mark Bullingham nevertheless answered "no" when asked about talks with any prospective successor, in a press conference on the first day of media duties at England’s base camp in Blankenheim.

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“We are sitting down after the tournament together and will talk about everything."

Southgate is a long-term target for Manchester United, who confirmed Erik ten Hag will be staying for next season on Tuesday evening. When asked about that situation and any moves for the England manager, Bullingham said: "I’ve had no approach about him. There have been no approaches."

Bullingham did confirm that a succession plan is in place, although only in a broad sense.

"I have said before that any organisation really has a succession plan in place for their top employees, and we are no different to that. This succession plan normally includes everything from what you do for short-term cover, through to a process you follow to candidates. We have that for top employees. That’s the same that we have. Without frustrating you enormously that’s really all I want to say on that topic. Just because I want to respect Gareth and the team that they are very focused on the tournament, and we want to be supporting them with that focus. Clearly, you plan lots of different scenarios for all your top employees all the time."

Bullingham evaded the topic on whether any future England manager would come through a St George’s Park pathway.

"We have two senior coaches. One of them is English, one of them is not. Any federation in the world would always want to have a pool of top homegrown talent playing and managing at any time."

Otherwise, Bullingham re-iterated the message that Southgate does not want to discuss the future until after Euro 2024, but intimated the FA are unlikely to see it in the same "win or bust" terms as the manager.

"What I would say is Gareth has been really, really clear that he wants to talk about that after the tournament. I don’t want to provide any distraction for him and the team. I want to respect the fact that they want to talk about the future after the tournament. I will say that I have said before, really, one is you know I think the world of Gareth, I think he has done a phenomenal job, I think he has transformed the fortunes of our men’s senior team, and that’s not just off the pitch, which a lot of people talk about, and you can see the culture but also the performances on the pitch. Since 1966, he has won about half of our knockout games which is a measure we really use. You know we value him massively.

Article image:FA has ‘succession plan’ already in place for Gareth Southgate’s England exit

Gareth Southgate has led this England men’s team to their best performance at a major tournament since 1966 (The FA via Getty Images)

"I know why people would love for there to always be a really arbitrary level but I don’t think you can set one for any tournament with any manager that you judge because you could go further but be playing poorly or have a really unlucky result where you get a couple of red cards so I think setting an arbitrary figure isn’t the right way to go, I think we step back and look at everything after the tournament. "That is why, traditionally international manager contracts end 10 days after the tournament or whatever and you know that we have got longer than that.

"What I’m saying is we will evaluate everything after the tournament, see how he feels, see how we feel and see how the tournament has gone."

"We have been upfront with our targets and our goals and we were fortunate enough to win a tournament a couple of years ago. "Of course you do everything you can to win a tournament but we will be reviewing it after this one." Bullingham naturally also pointed to how focused Southgate is.

"I don’t think it is distracting for him. I think he is used to it, he is in a great position and really positive."

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