After a heartbreaking defeat in the Euro 2020 final to Italy, Arsene Wenger has been backed to replace Gareth Southgate as the England manager.
Arsene Wenger could ‘end all the hurt’ England have suffered in the past 55 years, says sports presenter Richard Keys.
The Three Lions reached the final of a major international tournament for the first time since the 1966 World Cup during this summer’s European Championship under Gareth Southgate.
But unlike Alf Ramsey’s legendary squad from 1966, Southgate’s side fell at the last hurdle. England drew 1-1 with Italy and later lost on penalties to prolong their 55-year wait for glory.
Despite the defeat, along with his rather controversial decisions in the final, Southgate is still held in high esteem. The England manager has now overseen two semi-final runs in the World Cup and Nations League, and has reached the final in Euro 2020. Add the young talent at his disposal, there is still a sense of optimism over the Three Lions’ prospects in the 2022 World Cup.
In Keys’ opinion, however, Southgate can’t take England any further. The sports presenter would instead ‘move heaven and earth’ to sign Wenger if he was in charge of the English FA.
“The whole tournament smacked of Southgate being just a bit too clever,” he wrote in his latest blog post.
“Even the penalties were over thought. I felt for [Marcus] Rashford and [Jadon] Sancho — deemed not good enough to play a part in 120 minutes — but asked to go and make fools of themselves in a shootout. Sorry. That was poor.
“So, they were the best in training? So what? Your first touch of the ball on the night is a pen? But I can’t see England going any further with Southgate.
“If it was my choice, I’d move heaven and earth to persuade Arsene Wenger to take it. He really could end all the hurt.”
🗣 "I don't want to commit to anything longer than I should, I never want to out stay my welcome. I would want to be taking the team to Qatar."
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) July 12, 2021
Would Wenger take charge?
The Frenchman hasn’t returned to management since ending a 22-year spell at Arsenal in 2018. He currently works as FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development and as a pundit on beIN Sports.
Wenger, who has rejected offers from Real Madrid in the past, has admitted he was offered the chance to become England manager ‘two or three times’. He feels, though, an Englishman is better suited for the role.
“Yes, I turned them [England] down two or three times. But I saw it that the daily involvement was, for me, important,” he told beIN SPORTS in 2018.
“I felt and said many times it should be an English guy who takes the English national team.
“It’s a big country, they have enough quality managers, and I thought maybe it was not right for me to do that.”