The English Football Association will meet with Gareth Southgate in early January to decide his fate as England manager, according to Henry Winter.
The TimesSport reporter says the FA wants to hold a ‘comprehensive debrief’ with Southgate at the turn of the new year.
They will first allow the 52-year-old to unwind with his family over the holidays, hoping it will encourage him to return refreshed and continue in his role.
But Southgate has insisted on considering his future in the job.
He has enjoyed a relatively successful six-year spell as manager of the Three Lions, but has failed to deliver major silverware.
However, a heartbreaking World Cup quarter-final exit at the hands of reigning champions France has led the former Middlesbrough boss to ponder his future.
Speaking after the disappointing defeat, Southgate admitted he is ‘conflicted’ about carrying on after enduring criticism over the last 18 months.
While the FA and several current and former England players have publicly offered their support for Southgate, the England boss has kept everyone on their toes as they await his decision.
Possible replacements, just in case…
When Gary Neville said ‘there’s no English person alive who’s got more experience at major tournaments’ than Southgate, he was not far from the truth.
While Southgate’s ability to lead the Three Lions to glory at any tournament is debatable, he has done a solid job over the past six years.
It is understandable that the FA wants to keep him in his job but with Southgate now taking time to deliberate on his future, whether or not he decides to stay is a 50-50 chance.
If Southgate leaves, England could be in a precarious position as their replacement options in terms of international experience, tactical acumen and ability to deliver silverware is very limited.
Eddie Howe and Graham Potter could be at the top of the list, but it is unlikely that either Newcastle United or Chelsea will entertain talks for their managers.
The same can be said for Brendan Rodgers at Leicester City, especially after their resurgence this season.
Whether or not Frank Lampard’s first season at Chelsea was a success will remain debatable. But he struggled to thrive under pressure and eventually found himself at Everton, where his struggles as a manager have continued.
Steve Cooper did a good job getting his side to top-flight football but has barely galvanised his squad and is languishing in the bottom three of the Premier League.
Steven Gerrard, a Scottish Premiership champion, could not hack it in England and has plenty to prove.
Wayne Rooney has shown promise as a manager, but neither he nor the aforementioned, have done much to show they have what it takes to lead the national team to glory.
The FA could take a somewhat unorthodox approach and go for one of Mauricio Pochettino and Thomas Tuchel, who will reportedly jump at the chance, but that decision may be received with backlash seeing as they are not English.
The Three Lions need to keep Southgate, at least until another manager proves suitable enough for a trial run.
The meeting in January will be crucial, but the FA must do everything in its power to ensure he stays.
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