Arsene Wenger supports Gareth Southgate’s bid to become England manager on a full-time basis following reports that he could be just a win against Scotland away from landing the gig.
Related – Report: Southgate set for permanent England gig, if he beats Scotland
Arsenal’s veteran handler has been in the frame for the job himself, with the whispers rising in volume as the end of his club contract in May 2017 draws nearer. But Southgate, who took the reins following Sam Allardyce’s sacking over The Telegraph’s “Football for Sale” expose, is now a clear frontrunner.
“(Southgate) has accumulated experiences and is a good observer of what’s going on in the national team,” Wenger said of the 46-year-old who stepped up from his job overseeing the Under-21s to take interim charge of the senior setup.
However, some have argued that his experiences with the Young Lions are Southgate’s only successes since hanging up his boots in 2006. Before taking a role within his country’s national-team structure, the former defender toiled when at the Middlesbrough helm, and was unable to prevent its relegation into the Championship in 2009.
Wenger has long admired Southgate, however, and previously identified him as a candidate to succeed Steve McClaren at England in 2007.
“We’re in a job where you get questioned, especially if you have less experience, and the only answer he can give is by showing the decisions he makes are right,” Wenger added at Thursday’s press conference.
“There’s always a demand for big names but the most important thing is the person’s competency. He has a good opportunity and I’m happy he has a chance to show he has the quality.”
Through Southgate’s two matches in temporary charge, he’s masterminded a 2-0 win over Malta and 0-0 draw in Slovenia.
Wenger, meanwhile, is not revealing any desire to steal ahead of Southgate for the England job, and added: “I focus on my job, that’s what it is about.”
Arsenal welcomes Swansea City to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, with Southgate’s potential audition to assume full-time control of England coming in its World Cup qualification visit from Scotland on Nov. 11.