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Southgate's job safe, regardless of Cup fate

China Daily | Updated: 2017-12-05 07:23

LONDON - England manager Gareth Southgate will not lose his job even if his team struggles at next year's World Cup in Russia, Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn told British media on the weekend.

The FA sees the tournament as an "important staging post in the development" of a young squad and while that does not mean a "free pass," they would be reluctant to fire the manager, said Glenn.

The 47-year-old Southgate, who was appointed just over a year ago on a four-year deal, has been handed the task of developing his squad and fostering the international careers of the England players who won the Under-17 and Under-20 World Cup championships.

"We want Gareth there to build for the long term," Glenn said when asked if there would not be a knee-jerk reaction if England is humiliated in Russia the way it was at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, when it bowed out to Iceland in the first knockout round.

"The World Cup is a really important staging post for our development, I think. We go out there wanting to win it but also being realistic," he told The Independent.

"Gareth has a long-term contract. He's not looking at Russia as a free pass; he wants to go out there and win.

"But we're going to do it in a way that's sustainable. So, we're going to make sure that we're picking the kind of players that can do their best in Russia and continue to kick on in 2020 and 2022.

"We've got a long-term plan. You've seen it; you've seen some of the fruits of it."

Earlier this year, England's Under-20s beat Venezuela in the World Cup final, the Under-17s overcame Spain to become world champions and the Under-19s won the European Championship.

"Long-term plans are hard to defend when the short-term results go against you," Glenn added.

"Nobody wants to have a bad World Cup, but we're confident he's the right guy to take us through for the next few tournaments.

"What we're doing is making sure that players that have made it through to the first team by 21, 22, have had lots and lots of tournament experience. So, those Under-17 winners and Under-20 winners will be coming through and they are serious, serious competitions to win."

Reuters

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