Southgate vows England ‘stability’ as Allardyce admits error


London (AFP) – Gareth Southgate promised to bring some “stability” to the England set-up after Sam Allardyce admitted an “error of judgement” was behind his shock exit as the national side’s manager.

Allardyce’s one-game career as England manager came to a humiliating end after just 67 days on Tuesday following controversial comments made to undercover reporters.

Southgate has been promoted to caretaker boss of the senior England side from his post as Under-21 manager. 

The former England central defender will be in charge for the World Cup qualifier against Malta at Wembley on October 8, followed by matches against Slovenia, Scotland and a friendly with Spain.

“It’s obviously been a difficult situation for the FA (England’s governing Football Association) but it was important that there was some stability and continuity for everybody,” Southgate said in an FA statement.

“So, from my point of view, it was important to step forward and give us the best possible chance to win these games.”

Southgate added: “The focus now has to be on playing football, putting in good performances and getting results, starting with Malta at Wembley.

“These are four big games for us as a country, I’m looking forward to the challenge and I’m confident that we can get good results.”

Earlier, Allardyce told reporters outside his home in Bolton, northwest England on Wednesday that he regretted his conversation with the undercover team: “I think that on reflection it was a silly thing to do.

“But just to let everybody know, I sort of helped out what was somebody I’d known for 30 years (football agent Scott McGarvey).

“Unfortunately it was an error of judgement on my behalf and I’ve paid the consequences.”

Allardyce’s England reign was sensationally brought to a close on Tuesday as he paid the price for indiscreetly talking with undercover Daily Telegraph reporters posing as Far East businessmen. 

The 61-year-old was secretly filmed giving advice on how to circumnavigate transfer rules and mocking England predecessor Hodgson. 

Allardyce, appointed England manager in July on a £3 million-a-year-contract, also agreed to travel to Singapore and Hong Kong as an ambassador for their fictitious firm for a fee of £400,000. 

– ‘Concerning’ –

The Telegraph investigation has also alleged eight unnamed managers with Premier League experience took bribes for the transfers of players during secretly filmed interviews.

Britain’s sports minister, Tracey Crouch, said Wednesday: “The recent allegations concerning English football are very concerning and we will be discussing the matter with the football authorities.” 

Those authorities — the Football Association, the Premier League and the English Football League — issued a brief joint statement later Wednesday insisting they were serious about stamping out corruption from the game.

“Any substantive allegations will be investigated with the full force of the rules at our disposal, which are wide-ranging and well-developed,” they said. 

“In addition, should we find any evidence of criminality we would inform and seek the support of the appropriate statutory authorities.”

Crouch’s remarks and the football authorities’ statement came after Alan Shearer, a former England captain, said English football had a problem with “greed”.

Meanwhile United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann ruled himself out of replacing Allardyce on a permanent basis.

“No truth to the rumors regarding England,” Klinsmann, the German 1990 World Cup-winning striker who became a popular figure in English football during his time as a forward with Tottenham Hotspur, wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile Greg Clarke, who took over as chairman of England’s governing Football Association earlier this month, said Allardyce’s successor did not have to be English but ought to have Premier League experience.

“My personal opinion is we want someone who has an understanding of English football because if you haven’t managed in the Premier League, you really don’t know your players,” Clarke told the Telegraph.

“So, you’ve got to have managed in the Premier League. I’m not hung up on appointing an Englishman — obviously we’d like to — but we haven’t had that internal debate yet and we haven’t taken a proposal to the board.”

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