Man Utd chief Ratcliffe slammed for ‘out of order’ Southgate links amid Arteta smoke and mirrors

Will Ford
Ratcliffe Southgate Man Utd
Ian Wright reckons Sir Jim Ratcliffe is 'out of order' for chasing Gareth Southgate.

Ian Wright thinks Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe is “out of order” for lining up Gareth Southgate as the club’s new manager.

Ten Hag is under significant pressure to keep his job having struggled in his second season at Old Trafford, but earned plaudits after United’s dramatic FA Cup quarter-final win over Liverpool.

Ratcliffe “out of order”

And Wright thinks the timing of a report claiming Southgate is Ratcliffe’s ‘number one choice’ to replace Ten Hag is ‘off-key’ on the back of that victory.

The INEOS owner is said to be ‘increasingly confident’ of luring Southgate, who is the ‘overwhelming choice’ of ‘United’s former greats’ and ‘has the backing of some of United’s current players’.

Wright told the Stick to Football podcast that he believes Ratcliffe should have waited to see what Ten Hag achieves in the rest of the season before approaching potential replacements.

He said: “When you look at Manchester United’s game against Liverpool in the FA Cup, so they’ve got a chance to maybe win the FA Cup, they’re going to have to go some to get into the top four. But for them to be talking about it now – it’s a bit off-key, bringing up Gareth now like that. But the fact is, is that if he doesn’t win the FA Cup, Ten Hag, and he doesn’t get into the top four, then you can probably have that conversation. But he looks like he might do something. Whatever we think he might do in the future, he might do something.

“You see Gareth and yeah, stand-up guy, you can see how it could be, but shouldn’t be talking about him now, it’s out of order. I can’t even get into the realms of the pressure he is probably under. I’m thinking to myself as well, say things about the structure, saying we are not seeing this, saying players haven’t improved, whatever it is. But I can’t get into the realms of what pressure this man is under. For me, the game I watched against Liverpool the other day just felt like, ‘just go, I’m in, just go’ – it’s like he’s at the end of his tether. This man is someone that needs something to happen.”

Arteta admiration all smoke and mirrors

Wright also believes Ratcliffe is giving mixed messages having spoken of his admiration for the patience afforded to Mikel Arteta at Arsenal, though admits Southgate would “look the part standing on the line for Manchester United.”

He added: “You know what’s strange about it, is when you listen to Sir Jim Ratcliffe talk, how he admires Arsenal’s patience with Mikel Arteta, which obviously the FA Cup gave him even more time. It gave me the impression that Sir Jim is going to give Erik ten Hag time. It feels like that because if you are talking about Arteta and patience, and he’s quite admirable about the way he is speaking about it.

“I see Gareth Southgate standing on the line and the way he will be dressed, and his demeanour. I could see him; he’s got the stature to be Manchester United manager. The way he is. And we’re not talking about, I’m not being disrespectful, but in a kind of way I am but, his massive, big polo-necks, and he doesn’t look quite dressed, he looks like he’s got the stature for Manchester United with Erik ten Hag, sometimes you feel that. But for Gareth, talking about someone who looks the part, he’ll probably look the part standing on the line for Manchester United.”

READ MORE: Five reasons Gareth Southgate would *actually* be good for Manchester United