Neville pleased to see Southgate speculation end – ‘A succession plan can be put in place’

Date published: Sunday 18th December 2022 2:04 - News Desk

Gary Neville speaks about Spain

Gary Neville has said Gareth Southgate’s decision to continue as manager gives the Football Association enough breathing space to plan for his successor post-Euro 2024.

The 52-year-old national team boss will stay on until the end of his contract in 2024 having taken time to consider whether it was right for him to continue after a World Cup quarter-final exit.

But the FA had no desire to dispense with his services and with no obvious natural successor Southgate staying represents the best outcome for all concerned.

“It puts it to bed and allows everyone to focus on the next 18 months. It means a succession plan can be put in place,” Neville told Sky Sports News.

“Gareth has made us feel good about playing for England again. Getting our players and game respected around the world.

“We are in a good place. I think this idea we have to bring in a hard-nosed, killer winner and all of sudden we will be OK – I don’t buy into it.

“Don’t be fooled by the facade he is just a nice guy because he is polite when he speaks to people.

“The real problem is there isn’t a massive pool (to choose from).

“In 18 months’ time you could say (Steve) Cooper, (Eddie) Howe, (Graham) Potter, (Frank) Lampard, (Steven) Gerrard – four or five names who are English coaches – and then put some international coaches in there as well but you don’t know where they will be.

“Gone are the days when England could buy a manager out of their contract at a club.

“The England job unfortunately isn’t as precious as some of the top Premier League clubs.”

Neville gave Three Lions starlet Jude Bellingham a shoutout when discussing who he believes to be the young player of this World Cup.

He said: “Jude Bellingham for England. In terms of quality performances, Gavi and Pedri for Spain were as good as I have seen in this tournament, but they lacked that cutting edge, killer instinct and ruthlessness to win knockout matches.

“I’m going to go with Julian Alvarez, who has been outstanding for Argentina. His performance in a World Cup semi-final against Croatia, who are a fantastic team, was brilliant.

“Alvarez has become really important to Messi. When Messi was playing with Lautaro Martinez earlier in the tournament it wasn’t really happening for him, but Alvarez has emerged in the last few games and his work in and around Messi is noticeable. He’s a bright spark, he’s on the same wavelength as Messi.”

READ MORE: If you’re going to have a World Cup third-place play-off then at least make it like this, we suppose

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