Gareth Southgate England future: Rio Ferdinand reveals thinking over exit with big area of improvement required

England manager Gareth Southgate and forward Marcus Rashford during the 3-0 World Cup win over Wales

Rio Ferdinand has lifted the lid on what he believes Gareth Southgate will decide to do over quitting the England job in the wake of their World Cup disappointment.

The Three Lions exited the competition at the quarter-final stage after succumbing to a 2-1 defeat to France on Saturday. A missed Harry Kane penalty in the latter stages cost England the chance to take the game to extra time at least. And after going so close to glory in the recent past, failure to progress past the quarter-finals comes as a big blow.

It has led to speculation that Southgate might walk away from the England team, or possibly even be facing the sack.

And with question marks hanging over his future, the FA are reportedly looking at a current Premier League manager to step into his shoes.

As it stands, Southgate has wisely stated that he plans to take some time to reflect on his and England’s future.

Their next games come in March when they tackle Italy and Ukraine in European Championship qualifying.

However, while Ferdinand has pointed the blame at Southgate for Saturday’s loss, he reckons the Three Lions boss will find it hard to walk away.

Pointing to the belief generated within the group, Ferdinand, speaking to the BBC, claims Southgate will want to be the man who helps this talented generation go all the way.

“If I were him I wouldn’t be able to hand over this team,” he said. “You have to remember when he came into the job England used to hope. He’s now got the country expecting. Look where they were six years ago.”

Southgate told he needs to learn quickly

That said, the pundit has doubled down on his criticism of Southgate and insists there are major areas of improvement needed.

“I just think he’s got to find a way of affecting games in the big moments,” Ferdinand added.

“In the knockout phases against the best teams, he’s yet to show us he can affect the game with a moment of tactical brilliance or a substitution.

“He was reactive in that quarter final rather than proactive.”

Ferdinand has criticised Southgate for bringing on the likes of Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish too late to alter the result.

And he feels had they come on when England equalised, then the outcome could have been different.

Instead, France seized the initiative back, scoring the winner through an Olivier Giroud header.

That said, Ferdinand reckons England’s current young crop like playing for Southgate and he’s questioned whether they would have that same belief under someone else. This article here looks at the next 10 debutants England could call on.

The question was then put to fellow pundit Didier Drogba if England are seen as such a strong side elsewhere in the world, or – in Gary Lineker’s words – the media and supporters were “deluded”.

The former Chelsea man replied: “No, it is right to think that way. England are very strong: a lot of good young players. Everyone expected them to beat France, but France are very good.”

Indeed, it is Didier Deschamps’ side who will face Argentina in Sunday’s World Cup final. They beat surprise package Morocco 2-0 in their semi-final to leave England to reflect again on what might have been.

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