Soccer

FA has Gareth Southgate ‘succession plan’ but candidates not approached yet

Southgate admitted it could be his farewell tournament should England not be successful in Germany.

England manager Gareth Southgate and FA chief executive Mark Bullingham (right) at the FA Cup final.
England manager Gareth Southgate and FA chief executive Mark Bullingham (right) at the FA Cup final. (Nick Potts/PA)

Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham has drawn up a succession plan for England manager Gareth Southgate but insists no talks have taken place with any potential replacement.

Speculation over Southgate’s future has been rife heading into Euro 2024, with the 53-year-old admitting it could be his farewell tournament should England not be successful in Germany.

Bullingham also revealed the FA has not fielded any approaches for Southgate’s services after he had been linked with the managerial post at Manchester United – who have now decided Erik ten Hag will remain in place.

England manager Gareth Southgate during a training session at the Ernst-Abbe-Sportfeld in Jena, Germany.
England manager Gareth Southgate during a training session at the Ernst-Abbe-Sportfeld in Jena, Germany. (Adam Davy/PA)

Instead, it is Southgate’s future as England boss that will continue to be debated throughout the ups and downs of the finals.

Bullingham admitted there is a plan in place should Southgate leave after a post-tournament review – but that no successor has been spoken to at this stage.

“Any organisation really has a succession plan in place for their top employees,” he said at England’s training base in Blankenhain.

“We are no different to that. This succession plan normally includes everything from what you do for short-term cover, through to a process you follow to candidates. We have that for top employees.

“I want to respect Gareth and the team that they are very focused on the tournament and we want to be supporting them with that focus. Clearly, you plan lots of different scenarios for all your top employees all the time.

“Gareth has been really, really clear that he wants to talk about it after the tournament. I don’t want to provide any distraction for him and the team. I want to respect the fact that they want to talk about the future after the tournament.

“I’ve had no approach about him. There have been no approaches.

“We are sitting down after the tournament together and will talk about everything.

“I don’t think it is distracting for him (Gareth). I think he is used to it, he is in a great position and really positive.”

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham during the Euro 2028 and Euro 2032 hosts announcement ceremony at the UEFA Headquarters in Nyon.
FA chief executive Mark Bullingham during the Euro 2028 and Euro 2032 hosts announcement ceremony at the UEFA Headquarters in Nyon.

Having led England to the final of the last European Championships only to lose on penalties to Italy, Southgate also took the nation to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and the quarter-finals last time out in Qatar.

“If we don’t win, I probably won’t be here any more,” he told German publication Bild earlier in the week. “Then it might be the last chance.”

Asked if he saw the situation as “win or bust” for Southgate, Bullingham replied: “I know why people would love for there to always be a really arbitrary level but I don’t think you can set one for any tournament with any manager that you judge.

“You could go further but be playing poorly or have a really unlucky result where you get a couple of red cards so I think setting an arbitrary figure isn’t the right way to go, I think we step back and look at everything after the tournament.

“What I’m saying is we will evaluate everything after the tournament, see how he feels, see how we feel and see how the tournament has gone.

“Of course you do everything you can to win a tournament but we will be reviewing it after this one.”