SAMI MOKBEL: The Football Association should explore Guardiola if Southgate leaves

The Football Association hopes that’s not a question to be answered anytime soon, but who to turn to if Gareth Southgate leaves after the World Cup?

Here’s an idea: call Pep Guardiola.

Is it realistic? Maybe not. But if you don’t ask you don’t get and if the FA can persuade Guardiola somehow it would be the equivalent of winning the lottery.

If Gareth Southgate were to leave after the World Cup, the FA should ask about Pep Guardiola


  • 51-year-old Pep Guardiola would revolutionize the England squad but would cost an absolute fortune.
  • Mauricio Pochettino, 50 Knows English football and the Premier League but is considering a club return.
  • Thomas Tuchel, 49 A proven track record of winning trophies, but could the FA appoint a German coach?
  • Graham Potter, 47 Arguably the FA’s dream appointment, but he’s just taken the Chelsea job.
  • Frank Lampard, 44 Proving a very strong appointment by Everton and is on England’s radar for the longer term.
  • Steve Cooper, 42, won the Under-17 World Cup with England in 2017 but the Nottingham Forest boss has very little top management experience.
  • Steven Gerrard, 42, will immediately command the respect of players, but found his first Premier League job at Aston Villa difficult.
  • Eddie Howe, 44, has long been touted as a future England manager, but why would he leave Newcastle?
  • Scott Parker, 41 The FA have been keeping tabs on his progress and are impressed with his tactical philosophy.

The patriots will say “he is not English”. True – but does it really matter?

He is a generational coach, the best on the market. The FA should surely strive to achieve this.

Whether the Spaniard entertains him is probably doubtful at best.

Even if he were up for it, he would be very expensive – he earns £19m a season at Manchester City, a sum well short of the FA’s post-Covid budget.

But without a doubt, it is worth exploring. His contract expires at the end of the season, although City naturally want to extend it.

You’d think Guardiola is unlikely to leave the Etihad mid-season – but surely he’s worth the wait until summer?

If Guardiola is not possible, then why not Mauricio Pochettino? Or Thomas Tuchel?

Both are unemployed, both know the Premier League and are cheaper than Guardiola.

Pochettino is as close to captain Harry Kane as any other manager. while Tuchel won the Champions League. Both are worth considering.

Then there’s Northern Irishman Brendan Rodgers, whose stock isn’t as high as it once was, but his coaching abilities are unquestionable.

Of course, the merits of nominating an Englishman are obvious. To use a modern football expression: it means more. And, of course, it is. In an ideal world, the England manager should be English.

But in the search for authenticity, the FA is limited, especially since there is no obvious English candidate this winter in the event of a separation with Southgate.

Until three weeks ago, the FA had their eye on Graham Potter as Southgate’s successor.

His work at Brighton in implementing a clear and engaging philosophy has been admired. But as we now know, the American owners of Chelsea had the same idea.

The FA will continue to monitor Potter as he begins his journey at Stamford Bridge – but the 47-year-old’s appointment is a non-starter for now.

Pep Guardiola's contract with Manchester City expires at the end of this campaign

Pep Guardiola’s contract with Manchester City expires at the end of this campaign

Thomas Tuchel, unemployed after being sacked by Chelsea, is another candidate

Thomas Tuchel, unemployed after being sacked by Chelsea, is another candidate

Eddie Howe is another whom the FA admires but like Potter is entrenched in high-profile work at Newcastle.

Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard are still cutting their teeth at the highest levels of club management – ​​although Southgate’s largely positive reign suggests Premier League success isn’t necessarily a prerequisite for international football.

Lampard is doing a great job in rebuilding a club football at Everton which was on its knees when he arrived.

Gerrard finds life at Aston Villa more difficult, but his pedigree means he would command instant respect from the players.

But while the pair are certainly on the FA’s radar, they probably need a few more years in club football.

Steve Cooper is already a World Cup-winning manager in his previous form as England Under-17 boss.

He is highly regarded at St George’s Park – certainly by FA technical director John McDermott.

Southgate himself admitted before the game against Germany that he was not protected by a contract

Southgate himself admitted before the game against Germany that he was not protected by a contract

Moreover, it’s not impossible that Cooper will be available after the World Cup amid tensions behind the scenes at Nottingham Forest. But if we’re being pedantic – Cooper is Welsh and has little experience at the top level.

An outside choice: Scott Parker – who implemented a clear philosophy at Fulham and Bournemouth before his dismissal on non-footballing grounds from the latter last month.

But ultimately there is no obvious English choice for the FA if Southgate leaves this winter.

There were no surprises at FA headquarters on Sunday when Southgate appeared to open the door to a departure after Qatar.

Some within the governing body suspect he could walk away regardless of England’s performance at the World Cup.

But even if Southgate’s comments weren’t unexpected, they should have sharpened the wits of those in the FA tasked with finding his successor.

Scott Parker, who has implemented a clear philosophy at Fulham and Bournemouth, is an option

About Betty J. Snyder

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