International Soccer

Gareth Southgate is underrated and the right man for Man Utd

Gareth Southgate has earned himself a name on the international stage after transforming a team of underachievers into some of the country’s most memorable players.

Football fans have questioned his tactics on the major stage, but now the question has arisen as to whether the England boss will be a good fit for Manchester United.

It’s not been smooth sailing for current United boss Erik ten Hag either, who has faced fierce criticism, produced some alarming statistics and prompted some to even call him the worst manager of the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era at Old Trafford.

So, would Southgate be an improvement on Ten Hag, or should United ride out the rest of the Dutchman’s contract without making a hasty decision?

Erik ten Hag

Ten Hag has faced criticism since joining Man Utd / Michael Regan/GettyImages

The Red Devils have picked up a bit of a reputation as of late. Their games seem to follow a similar pattern; score early on, crumble and then suffer a loss.

Ten Hag knew the stature of his United shoes before he stepped into them, and they certainly are tough boots to fill. The weight that the club carries is unlike any other English team and with memorable managers like Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Matt Busby leading the way in previous campaigns, it’s close to an impossible job for someone to step into comfortably.

However, the statistics don’t lie, and this season resembles some of the worst in United’s recent history. Ten Hag’s not been helped by regular injuries, but he is at serious risk of losing his position at the club before his contract ends in 2025.

Harry Kane, Kieran Trippier and Reece James

England just missed out on being European champions in 2021 / Insidefoto/GettyImages

There’s plenty of discussion around this point, but ultimately Southgate is a good football manager.

His work is admirable – leading England to a World Cup semi-final in 2018 before a run to the final of Euro 2020 gives the impression that a major tournament victory is not out of reach. The expectation of perfection is something that Southgate has been subjected to throughout his entire national team managerial career, and for the most part he handles it remarkably.

Before Southgate’s reign, England could not compete with Europe’s best for success and style. Now, they have match-winners at either end of the pitch.

Fans are quick to forget his years as England U21s coach, where he forged a pathway to the senior team for so many bright stars. He’s not afraid to experiment with this squad, which some fans dislike, but it allows for something different and sometimes awakens insane quality on the pitch.

Southgate will proudly lead the team to Germany in the summer. He has the most major tournament wins of any England manager and the pressure will be on him to raise the roof.

Gareth Southgate, Marcus Rashford

Would Southgate fix Man Utd? / Alex Livesey – Danehouse/GettyImages

Managing a club week in, week out is a very different ask than managing a national team.

Southgate is a cautious man, and the last club he orchestrated was the relegation-bound Middlesbrough who lost their place in the Premier League in the 2008/09 season.

But a lot has changed in 15 years, and the pressure of managing this England squad may set him up well for a club like United.

His relationship with top talent like Jude Bellingham could put United to the front of the queue when signings are on the table, and he may have the power to bring life back to players like Harry Maguire, Marcus Rashford and Mason Mount – who have shone for England.

It’s a big call, but Gareth Southgate is good enough to manage Manchester United.


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