England manager, Gareth Southgate, has reportedly chosen a date to step down from his position. Southgate‘s contract, which is set to expire following the EURO 2024 tournament, has sparked a flurry of speculations about his successor. The Football Association (FA) is said to be eyeing Manchester City’s manager, Pep Guardiola, as a prospective replacement.
Southgate‘s managerial journey with the Three Lions could be nearing its conclusion as his contract expires in the coming year. Although Southgate could potentially extend his stay through the 2026 World Cup, the England FA is reportedly making contingency plans. These plans gained momentum following England’s quarter-final exit in the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
According to inside sources, FA’s technical director John McDermott has been in discussions with colleagues about a shortlist of potential successors for Southgate. Names such as Eddie Howe, Graham Potter, Mauricio Pochettino, and Brendan Rodgers have surfaced in these conversations. However, it’s Guardiola who is catching the most attention, being labeled by some FA insiders as a “dream” appointment.
Guardiola, whose Manchester City contract will end in 2025, has a style and tactical credibility that many at the FA find captivating. There is a keen interest to assess Guardiola‘s willingness to move into the international stage, particularly into the England managerial role. However, there are hurdles to overcome. Guardiola’s outspoken support for Catalan independence has made it unlikely he’ll be given a chance at the Spain job, but his hefty salary demands could be a stumbling block for the FA, which has experienced financial challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
England must focus on the present issues
Meanwhile, Southgate faces immediate challenges, as key players Jack Grealish and Trent Alexander-Arnold are sidelined with injuries. The England team will square off against Ukraine in a EURO 2024 fixture this Saturday, followed by a friendly against Scotland the subsequent Tuesday.
As speculation continues to swirl, the focus for now remains on the immediate tasks at hand. While the FA considers its long-term managerial options, Southgate and his team have more immediate games to tackle. The coming months are sure to bring more clarity on this intriguing managerial dilemma for the Three Lions.