• News

English FA backs ‘resilient’ Gareth Southgate amid intensified criticism

Gareth Southgate - England
Getty Images

The Three Lions manager has the full support of the FA ahead of the World Cup.

FA chair Debbie Hewitt has reacted to uncertainty over Gareth Southgate’s future as the England manager.

The manager came under fire for his side’s underwhelming performances during the UEFA Nations League tournament.

The Three Lions suffered two defeats and two draws in Group A3 of the competition. A humiliating defeat against Hungary mounted more pressure on Southgate, who will spearhead England’s efforts to end their 56-year wait to win a major trophy.

However, Hewitt has expressed his support for Southgate ahead of the upcoming Qatar World Cup.

All you need in a VPN — and more

“My personal opinion on Gareth is that he is, by the facts on the pitch, the most successful England manager we’ve had for 55 years,” Hewitt told a news conference.

“The bit people don’t see as much is the Gareth at camp and the culture he’s created.

“Certainly, prior to Gareth being the manager of England, there was not the pride of wearing the England shirt. There were the club rivalries we’d read about. The players not getting on.

“He’s changed that beyond recognition and I’ve seen that first hand.

“I’d also say that I don’t just work in football, I work in business and I’ve worked with a lot of chief executives and Gareth’s skills — his high IQ and high EQ — would make him a chief exec in any sphere.

“That resilience and accountability [are] the two qualities I admire most. There are no slopy shoulders, he doesn’t huff, he’s resilient and that’s what you want in an England manager.”