Premier League boss new favourite to be next England manager after Gareth Southgate exit

Dave Tickner
England manager contenders.
England manager contenders.

Gareth Southgate has stepped down as England manager after eight years, a second defeat in the final of the European Championships quite understandably proving too much for a man who has done so much to transform the national team but couldn’t quite get them over the line to end all those countless years of hurt.

Farewell, Gareth, but time waits for no man. Southgate is gone so the question must now be: who replaces him?

According to the latest odds, it’s one of these lads…

 

8=) Roberto Mancini
It’s clearly far too early to be putting the man who just beat Southgate’s England to European glory in the list, so we guess current Saudi Arabia and former Italy boss Mancini is the next best thing. Does at least pass the Knows Our League test that we suspect will be mandatory for any foreign contender, but still very hard to see this one coming to pass.

 

8=) Ralf Rangnick
An interesting if surely unlikely shout, Rangnick was right and ignored about an awful lot of things at Manchester United and had Austria playing some of the best football at Euro 2024 in topping their group ahead of France and Netherlands before coming unstuck in the last 16 against Turkey.

 

8=) Pep Guardiola
England’s tip-top number one choice for after the Euros, apparently. Fair enough, you’d have to say. He’s quite good. Might just decide he’s done all that can be done at Manchester City, but will have a desk full of extremely lucrative offers and might even decide on another sabbatical rather than jumping straight into work as and when he does leave the Etihad. Can easily see why England would desperately want to make this happen, harder to see why Pep would.

 

8=) Joachim Low
Only added to the market on Tuesday after the Southgate news broke and we’re almost certain that his relatively short odds are just cagey suspicion from the bookies who’ve been asked for a price ther than a reflection of his true chances of getting the role.

Certainly knows his way around international and tournament management after 15 years and almost 200 games – close to a Double Southgate – in charge of Germany, and hasn’t gone back to club management in the three years since leaving his own national team.

We would be staggered if there were actually anything in this, but he does tick the ‘relevant experience’ and ‘availability’ boxes, so depending on how significant you consider those…

 

6=) Frank Lampard
“I think he’s [Lampard] been a bit unlucky in his managerial career in some ways,” said Gary Lineker of his fellow BBC man Frank Lampard during Euro 2024.

“He gets it tactically and he’s Frank Lampard. I think this is Gareth Southgate’s last tournament whatever, whether we win it or not. But I wouldn’t disregard Frank. I think players would respect him immensely. If you’re going to go English. Who else? Eddie Howe?”

We would cheerfully and entirely disregard Frank. And also yes, if you’re going to go English then probably Eddie Howe, sure. No spoilers, but if you keep reading…

 

6=) Thomas Tuchel
Reportedly very keen to replace Southgate after the 2022 World Cup when it seemed like Southgate might walk away from England, and currently out of work again after being sacked by Bayern Munich. And we know he loved working in England, and is an avowed fan of English football.

Can’t help feel the reception to this one from fans and media would be rather hostile, giving him even less margin for error than anyone else will get following Southgate, and the short-term nature of most of his managerial stints – for multiple reasons – surely counts against him.

 

5) Mauricio Pochettino
It could obviously be brilliant. Especially if you feel Gareth Southgate has had this group playing with the handbrake not fully released. England absolutely have the players for a Pochettino 4-2-3-1, which is certainly a more progressive version of that setup than Southgate’s. The age profile of this England squad with all those brilliant younglings would also fit Pochettino’s deserved reputation for moulding and improving young players.

And Chelsea have bizarrely sacked him just as they were getting their sh*t in order, while Manchester United have snubbed him in favour of One More Year with Erik ten Hag, so he’s available immediately which could absolutely be a significant factor given the timeframes involved. Undeniable levels of banter exist, though, in choosing the man who famously came so close but ultimately won nothing with that really very good Spurs side to replace a manager who famously came so close but ultimately won nothing with that really very good England side.

 

4) Jurgen Klopp
A textbook choice of armchair fans and there are two compelling reasons why he might be up for it here but we’re not sure Liverpool fans would ever forgive him for leaving them for England. And it really does not chime with the narrative of the sabbatical. Turned down the USMNT only a few days ago and while it would be negligently irresponsible if the FA suits didn’t sound Klopp out we do rather suspect the conversation would be a short one. Which is undeniably a shame, because Klopp as England manager would, we suspect, be a great deal of fun.

 

3) Lee Carsley
Led England’s Under-21s to a brilliant win at the Euros last summer and would represent something like a Continuity Southgate candidate in CV if not necessarily style. Has agreed to stay on as Under-21 coach for the next qualifying campaign and at the very least is therefore in prime position for an interim role at the very least. And with Southgate’s time viewed very much as a success by The FA (and quite rightly, to be fair) they are unlikely to be as opposed to taking the same route again as some fans.

And the fact England’s next objective in the three upcoming pre-Christmas international breaks is (what should be) the relatively straightforward task of getting themselves back into the top tier of the Nations League, an interim Carsley could well by October or November have made a pretty compelling case a la Southgate 2016 for a more permanent chance.

 

2) Graham Potter
Plenty of reports suggesting he’s been ‘holding out’ for the England job having turned down several approaches to get back into club management.

His reputation is undoubtedly tarnished from the Chelsea unpleasantness, but let’s not entirely forget what he started at Brighton. Consistently got them punching above their weight and is a brilliant tactician, while the xG issues that have plagued his teams should be less of an issue with this England team.

He’d be making the move from day-to-day coaching very young, though, although having been out of that particular game for as long as he now has perhaps that’s not the issue it might otherwise have been. Probably still just about in the position where his availability is a blessing rather than something to be held against him, because in an ideal world England would very much like to have a permanent new manager in place for the Nations League, which starts in September, and that’s a potentially thorny challenge for any currently employed contender. Such as…

 

1) Eddie Howe
A favourite who rather neatly highlights some of the strangeness of the England job’s allure and desirability in the grand scheme. After 2022/23, having steered Newcastle into the Champions League, it would be almost impossible to see Howe walking out on that for England. But the rather more difficult – for club and manager – 2023/24 season really does make it more rather than less likely that Howe does now in fact end up with England.

It’s easy enough to see how people could be won over by the concept of Eddie Howe, England manager; he would appear to sit pretty handily being viewed as enough of a Southgate-like figure for the former manager’s supporters to fall in behind while boasting a superior club-level CV and arguably more appealing brand of football.

And the Newcastle job no longer looks quite the guaranteed route to enormous success it did a year or so ago. While the Klopp pipedream has the loudest cheerleaders among the media and ex-pros, the far more feasible Howe would appear to be a cosy second on that particular list.