Rumors had been circulating that Gareth Southgate might step down as England’s national team manager after the 2022 World Cup. However, Southgate has decided to continue in his role and has led the team to an impressive record of four wins out of four in the qualifying matches for the upcoming European Championships.
Now, reports from the Daily Mail suggest that officials within the Football Association (FA) are considering the prospect of offering Pep Guardiola the position, viewing him as the ideal candidate. Guardiola’s current contract with Manchester City runs until 2025, which means any move to lure him to the England job would require a substantial payoff to the club.
Guardiola’s success in club football over the past 15 years cannot be denied, with three Champions League titles and numerous domestic league triumphs in La Liga, the Premier League, and the Bundesliga. However, if he were to pursue international football, his strong support for Catalan independence may create a barrier for him to take up the role as the manager of the Spanish national team.
If Guardiola were appointed as England’s manager, he would become only the third foreign coach to hold the position, following in the footsteps of Fabio Capello, who left in 2012. Another foreign coach, Sarina Wiegman, who currently manages the England women’s team, has also been considered as a potential successor to Southgate in recent weeks.
When rumors circulated about Southgate’s potential departure after the Qatar World Cup, various names were thrown into the mix as possible replacements. Eddie Howe and Graham Potter emerged as potential English candidates, while Brendan Rodgers and Mauricio Pochettino were among the non-English options. However, as Southgate wasn’t offered any high-profile jobs, he decided to continue as England’s manager until at least Euro 2024.
While Southgate might extend his tenure until the 2026 World Cup, there is still a need for contingency plans should he depart. This could happen if England becomes European champions or if they significantly underperform in the upcoming European Championships.
Under Southgate’s leadership, England has experienced considerable success in major tournaments, reaching the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup, narrowly missing out on their first final since their legendary victory in 1966. They went even further in the Euro 2020 by reaching the final, only to lose to Italy on penalties at Wembley.
In the 2022 World Cup, England faced a minor setback, losing to France in the quarter-finals despite dominating earlier matches against Iran, Wales, and Senegal.
The upcoming Euro qualifier against Ukraine in September is crucial for England, as a victory would all but secure their place in the finals next summer. With a perfect start to their qualifying campaign, England aims to maintain their impressive form under Southgate’s guidance.
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