'Southgate is the outstanding candidate'

Arsene Wenger was asked about Gareth Southgate’s chances of becoming the permanent England manager on Friday.

This is what he told the media in his weekly press conference at London Colney:

on how Southgate has handled himself…
Quite well. He has accumulated experience, first with Middlesbrough and now with the FA. He was a good observer of what was going on in the English national team, and after that we’re in a job where you are questioned, especially when you have less experience. The only answer he can give is by doing his job, and our job is selection and decision making. He has to show that the decisions he makes are the right ones, and that he has the strength to do what he believes is right.

on whether Southgate is the outstanding candidate for the job…
Yes, he is. That is the difficulty in England, that there’s always the demand for the big names. What is most important to me is the competence of the person and if a person is competent then he can make a name for himself. He has a good opportunity to show that. I’m happy to see that he has an opportunity to show that he has quality.

on whether he regrets his England internationals going away…
I hope not! [Theo] had not maybe the most positive experience but I think it was a difficult game. I haven’t seen the first game, I’ve seen the second game against Slovenia, I think he was quite lively but they never got really going and then it’s more difficult for the strikers because they live from the balls they get and one of Theo’s main qualities is the quality of his runs. So it depends a lot on the quality of the service as well.

on whether poor international form weighs on the England players…
I don’t think so. I think players can make a difference between club and the country and at the end of the day, England got four points - it’s quite acceptable.

on whether talk of the England job may distract him…
No, no. I focus on my job and that’s what it is about.


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