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Top Candidates to Replace Gareth Southgate as England Manager

© Ace Football

Gareth Southgate, despite leading England to their first World Cup semi-final since 1990, their first-ever Euros final, and their first final in any major tournament since 1966, often faces harsh criticism.

Even during his worst tournament, the 2022 World Cup, he matched the performance of any England manager since Terry Venables in Euro 96. While Southgate has his flaws, he has transformed the mood around the England team for both supporters and players following the dismal 2014 World Cup and the humiliating Euro 2016. However, Euro 2024 is likely to be Southgate’s last tournament, as his contract expires in December 2024, and he has stated he won’t decide on his future until after the Euros. With that in mind, it’s crucial to consider potential successors. Here are the seven best candidates to replace Gareth Southgate as England manager.

7. José Mourinho

Mourinho has long been linked with the England job, and he recently revealed that he was offered the role back in the 2007-08 season but turned it down. Despite his declining stock, Mourinho’s experience and credentials could command immediate respect in the England dressing room. He is a master of knockout football, which suits international tournaments, and his man-management skills are legendary. However, his conservative tactics and the potential for a meltdown are significant downsides.

6. Gary O’Neil

At 40, O’Neil has only been in management for less than two years but has shown impressive results. After saving Bournemouth from relegation and stabilizing Wolves, he has proven his ability to succeed in challenging circumstances. O’Neil’s main drawback is his inexperience at the top level and the transition to managing a team with higher expectations. However, he could be a promising future candidate if he continues to impress.

5. Marco Rossi

Rossi, the current Hungary manager, has orchestrated a remarkable turnaround for the Hungarian national team. Under his leadership, Hungary has achieved significant victories against top teams like Croatia, England, and Germany. Rossi speaks fluent English, follows English football, and has demonstrated his tactical acumen against stronger opponents. While an obscure choice, Rossi’s international success and ability to maximize limited resources make him an intriguing candidate.

4. Graham Potter

Potter, the second favorite with bookies, is known for his attacking football and excellent man-management skills. His time at Chelsea was challenging, but his success with Östersund, Swansea, and Brighton cannot be ignored. Potter’s main challenge would be overcoming the narrative of his Chelsea tenure and the lengthy period he might spend out of work before Southgate’s contract expires.

3. Eddie Howe

Howe, the favorite to succeed Southgate, has managed with pressure and expectation at Newcastle United, guiding them to a Champions League spot. His success with Bournemouth and Newcastle makes him a strong candidate. However, his current contract with Newcastle until 2027 and the question of whether he would leave the project could complicate his appointment. Additionally, his lack of major silverware could be a sticking point.

2. Sean Dyche

Dyche’s decade-long tenure at Burnley, marked by two promotions and a seventh-place Premier League finish, highlights his managerial capabilities. He has also done well at Everton under challenging circumstances. Dyche’s English nationality, personable nature, and availability after his Everton contract expires in 2025 make him a viable candidate. However, his teams’ typically defensive style and limited experience managing top teams could be concerns.

1. Pep Guardiola

Guardiola, widely regarded as one of the greatest managers of all time, has expressed interest in managing a national team. His success with Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Manchester City speaks volumes about his capabilities. Guardiola’s knowledge of England’s players, particularly the Manchester City contingent, and his ability to command respect make him an ideal candidate. Although he is not English, his potential impact on the team could outweigh this drawback. Guardiola’s contract with Manchester City expires in 2025, making the timing potentially perfect for the FA to approach him.