5 Mar 2017

Gareth Southgate Ready to Pick Players Only on Merit

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Gareth Southgate has confirmed that he will not be picking players for the England national team only based on reputation.

After being a recently appointed as the permanent manager, Southgate has an opportunity to make crucial changes in several areas of the pitch. Over the next few years, the direction of the England team will be determined by the former Middlesbrough manager. One of the common mistakes made by his predecessor was to select players based on reputation. It was especially rampant during the Sven Goran Eriksson era, and to a certain extent during the Fabio Capello days.

Southgate has categorically set the target of improving the position in the world rankings. England’s last major honour, and the only honour at major level, happens to be the 1966 World Cup, which was won on home soil. Since then, they have failed to go past the quarter-final stage of a major tournament on several instances. In recent major tournaments, however, England have been unable to even reach the knockout stages of major tournaments.

Such has been the fall from grace and Southgate knows that he has an immense task on his hands. Managers like Capello, who have won numerous honours in the game, have failed to turn around the situation.

"I'm very conscious I've got to get the balance right because ultimately my responsibility is to produce a winning England team. I never pick on reputation - form has to come into it. You have to look at the opposition and the type of game you're expecting and select the players best suited to that.We have players of great potential but at the moment we're 13th in the world. We've got to be better, everything we do has got to be better,” said Southgate ahead of his first game as a permanent manager.