4 reasons why Gareth Southgate's new contract is great news for England
#2 He’s a modern manager with a settled style
It’s hard to believe now but England fans weren’t keen on Southgate when he was first announced as the replacement for the outgoing Sam Allardyce back in October 2016. The image Southgate cultivated at the time was one of a corporate yes-man for the FA – the safe option after the disaster that was Allardyce.
Following the World Cup though, that idea has been firmly laid to rest. No previous manager has been able to connect with the England players quite like Southgate has – and that’s largely down to the fact that he’s the first boss to actually live through the Premier League era as a player. He knows what it’s like to be a modern footballer and understands the players better than the likes of Hodgson, Capello and Allardyce did.
More encouragingly, despite some flaws being exposed by better teams at times, Southgate also has a clear-cut image of the way he wants his England side to play – by using a fluid 3-5-1-1 formation, playing out from the back, and using speed to catch opposing defences out. And after two years in the job, he’s shown the willingness to stick to this system no matter what – a far cry from the way Hodgson experimented in his later years.
The fact that the Three Lions have now tied such a boss down to a long-term contract is a massive boon for the FA – as it means Southgate will have even more time to embed his ideas and beliefs on the squad – hopefully to lead them to genuine success.