Gareth Southgate: My appointment as England coach was surprising

Sam Allardyce‘s surprise exit as The Three Lions‘ coach led to Gareth Southgate’s appointment as the interim coach but the man admits the new position brings a mixed feeling of excitement and shock.

Gareth Southgate is preparing to lead England against Malta at Wembley

Image: Gareth Southgate

Gareth, who has been managing England’s U21 team before his new job, will be in-charge for the next four games, or until a new coach is selected. He’s already preparing the squad for Saturday’s qualifier against Malta at Wembley stadium.

Southgate said in a report from The Sun: “There is lots about football I don’t like but it is a sport I love and representing my country is something I love. I have not spoken to Sam. I have exchanged messages with him. The decision was not my bag.

“I don’t know all the details and frankly I have enough to focus on over the next seven weeks.

“When I came in here Tuesday morning, I did not expect to be in charge of the team at 6 p.m. as the situation developed so quickly. In football, you get used to the speed of the way things happen.

“It was a moment to put myself up as leader of the group. I was in the best position to take them forward.

“The role is an honor  I thought it was a difficult situation and important we showed leadership. I am a proud and patriotic Englishman.

“The opportunity is something no-one will ever take away from me. This is huge for my family, huge for everyone who has helped me along my career.

“The workings of the last week have been almost identical to running the Under-21s.

“That is why I felt it was important I did this. To turn around the opposition planning, selection of our planning and training week are all issues I have dealt with.

“The profile is greater, the players are a bit older, but if I compare when I took over at Middlesbrough when everything was now, this was far, far calmer. It is a lot more excitement rather than trepidation ten years ago.”

Manchester United youngster Marcus Rashford was selected to represent England in their upcoming game against Malta. Jesse Lingard and 32-year-old Glen Johnson were also included in the list.

Talking about the selected Three Lions, Gareth said: “Marcus was outstanding for us last month in the Under-21s.

“Jesse is a player we were impressed over the three years. He has established himself in Jose Mourinho’s team.

“Under pressure in the Euro Under-21s Championships, I thought he was our best performer.

“We have lost Clyne in our squad so to bring in a player with 50-plus caps [Johnson] was something we felt was the right decision.”

Sam Allardyce, 61, was the manager of Premier League club side Sunderland FC before he was appointed England coach on July 22.

The English FA paid £3 million to the club so he could be released for the new challenges. Unfortunately, barely two months later, he was disgracefully sacked amid allegations of corruption.