Football

Report card on Southgate

How Gareth Southgate fared during his four-match stint as England's interim manager

RESULTS

In three World Cup qualifiers, the 46-year-old gathered seven points from a possible nine, albeit against moderate opponents in Malta, Slovenia and Scotland.

The fact that Southgate safely navigated those games to leave the Three Lions top of Group F and well on course for the 2018 World Cup will count in his favour.

Victory over Spain would have been the icing on the cake and put him in a huge position of strength, but two late goals meant Southgate's temporary deal ended with an entertaining draw.

That is unlikely to harm his claim much, though, with plenty of positives to draw from the performance.

TACTICS

It would perhaps be unfair to judge Southgate for his first two matches against Malta and Slovenia, given the short time he had with the team.

He had minimal time to impose his style on the side and it would be more instructive to look at the games versus Scotland and Spain.

In those outings, it became overwhelmingly clear that 4-2-3-1 would be Southgate's natural tendency, with a heavy emphasis on progressive, passing football from the back.

Split centre halves, fullbacks driving high up the field and Eric Dier providing a fluid link between defence and midfield all seem to be key tenets.

DECISION MAKING

Arguably, Southgate began to look like he was ready to fill the chair as soon as he resolved to drop Wayne Rooney in his second match at the helm.

England were ultimately outplayed in the subsequent 0-0 draw in Ljubljana but, by doing what Roy Hodgson and Sam Allardyce seemingly felt unable to, removing the team's biggest star in service of the team, he showed an admirably decisive streak.

PUBLIC PERSONA

The former Middlesbrough boss is a break from the mould for England.

Not as detached as Hodgson nor as bombastic as Allardyce, Southgate has portrayed himself as a thinker on the game and won a lot of admirers when he declared he loved football but disliked the industry around it.

His well-formed aphorism that "football is about people who play and people who pay" summed up his outlook neatly. - PA Sport.

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