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Caretaker Southgate eager to move on with England

Burton-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) – England’s caretaker manager Gareth Southgate expressed a desire to move on from a “very difficult” week in his introductory press conference on Monday.

Southgate, formerly England Under-21s coach, has been placed in charge on a temporary basis after Sam Allardyce left his post as manager last week following just 67 days at the helm.

Allardyce left “by mutual consent” after being caught giving advice about how to circumvent transfer rules and mocking his predecessor, Roy Hodgson, in a newspaper sting.

“I realise the last week has been a very difficult one for our organisation,” Southgate told a press conference at the St George’s Park national football centre in Burton, central England.

“I felt it was important to step forward in the leadership position. I’m very much looking forward to working with the players over the next 10 days to get the results the country wants.”

Southgate has recalled Manchester United forwards Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard for England’s 2018 World Cup qualifiers at home to Malta on Saturday and away to Slovenia next week.

He also awarded Stoke City full-back Glen Johnson a first international call-up in over two years.

Southgate has confirmed that Wayne Rooney will continue as captain.

England won 1-0 away to Slovakia in Allardyce’s one game in charge.

Southgate, a former England centre-back, said he had thanked Allardyce since his predecessor’s departure.

“We exchanged messages. From my point of view, that was important,” said the 46-year-old.

“I didn’t want to be seen as someone who was waiting in the wings for an opportunity. I think Sam knew that. I felt it was important to thank him.

“The working relationship from my point of view was very positive. He’s got his own situation to deal with and I’ve got to get on with leading the country forward.”

Allardyce’s downfall came amid a spate of revelations about corruption in English football by the Daily Telegraph.

Reflecting on the stories, Southgate said: “I’m involved in a sport that I love and an industry that at times I don’t like.

“The detail about what happened last week, I’m not au fait with. I’ve heard names mentioned and bits of information, but I don’t have the detail, so I don’t think I can speculate.”

Southgate will also take charge of England’s World Cup qualifier against Scotland and friendly against Spain in November.

He said he had not had time to think about whether he wants the role full-time.

“I’ve not had a chance to think about anything other than preparing for this week and getting the best results,” he said.

“Everything beyond that can wait until we have time to breathe.”

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