Fergie sympathetic for Southgate plight

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Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has expressed his sympathy for sacked Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate.

Boro axed Southgate this week after disappointing three years in charge which included relegation from the Barclays Premier League last season.

The Scot, 67, who will have been in charge at Old Trafford 23 years next month, said: "In modern-day football, the manager is always going to be the scapegoat, no matter what happens. That happens time and time again."

He added: "Gareth Southgate - you can look at that and scratch your head.

"I know you can say it's been three years, but it's three years from being a footballer one day to a manager three years later. It's not an apprenticeship.

"Apprenticeships used to be five or six years so he's not really had a proper apprenticeship.

"Steve Gibson, in fairness, has a good reputation as a chairman and that has been proved, but on this occasion he has surprised people and only he can explain the reasons.

"He has given some reasons but I still think for a young manager, when you don't have that luck in your early years, you are struggling. There is no leeway nowadays."

Ferguson was impressed by some of the work done by Southgate at the Riverside Stadium, particularly his nurturing of younger players.

He added: "He structured Middlesbrough in a different way, ie through youth. You have to recognise how good Middlesbrough have been in terms of the players he has produced, but it hasn't saved his job. That's the climate we're in, managers are always going to suffer. That is the climate we are all working in."

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Premier League
Manchester United
Gareth Southgate

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