Gareth Southgate has decided to reject the chance to become England manager, bringing an end to several days of speculation regarding his future.
According to the Guardian, Southgate has made it clear to bosses at the Football Association that he will not accept the role of England manager on either a permanent or an interim basis.
It brings about a new low for English football with the FA now finding themselves in the wilderness with regards to Roy Hodgson's successor.
Indeed, it had been assumed that Southgate would simply accept the role on an interim basis, giving the FA time to draw up a shortlist and conduct proper interviews without worrying about World Cup qualifiers, which star in nine weeks time with a tricky game against Slovakia.
The chief executive Martin Glenn went as far to call Southgate "a pretty obvious pick" when asked whether Southgate would be considered for the role on a temporary basis.
So why has Southgate come to this decision? Managing England is the pinnacle for most British coaches and few would turn down the opportunity. But Southgate, whose only job in Premier League football was with Middlesbrough seven years ago, has some very good reasons for doing so as explained below.
Reasons for the rejection
- Southgate believes there will be no winning if he accepts an interim role. If he does badly, he believes it could damage his career beyond repair. If he does well, he will still be moved along when England decide on their more qualified first choice.
- He appreciates the gravity of the task of managing England and thoroughly believes he does not have enough experience to do it justice.
- He does not believe his work with the Under-21 side is done. Having overseen a victory at this summer's Toulon tournament, Southgate wants to continue working with this group of youngsters and help them make the step up to the senior team.
- His ideal next move will be back into the Premier League, where he has not coached since overseeing Boro's relegation in 2009. He feels he has come along leaps and bounds in his management ability and is confident of having a more successful stint on the domestic side.
The bookies have tipped a host of homegrown managers for the role with Glenn Hoddle, Alan Pardew and Eddie Howe all high up their list. There was a suggestion that Arsene Wenger would be targetted but he has rejected England before and is unlikely to leave Arsenal.
One interesting prospect is Jurgen Klinsmann who has worked wonders with the USA while Guus Hiddink, who has been approached by the FA before, is unemployed after leaving Chelsea and has intimated that a return to international management would appeal.