Southgate credits FA for supporting youth drive after signing new deal

By Ryan Benson 4 October 2018 104
Southgate credits FA for supporting youth drive after signing new deal

Gareth Southgate highlighted the importance of the Football Association's desire to develop youth players in his decision to sign a new four-year deal as England manager.

Southgate has made a strong impact since taking over from the sacked Sam Allardyce in 2016, evidenced by England's performances at Russia 2018, when the Three Lions reached their first World Cup semi-final since 1990.

One element of Southgate's leadership to come in for particular praise has been a continued faith in young players over more experienced campaigners who are unlikely to contribute a great deal in the long run.

That was further underlined in Southgate's latest squad announcement on Thursday, which saw him call up Mason Mount, Jadon Sancho, James Maddison and Nathaniel Chalobah for upcoming matches against Spain and Croatia.

"I'm really pleased we are able to have that stability and it's important that we connect all the junior teams to that," Southgate told reporters.

"We don't stand alone. We try to work in the same way and the benefits from that are clear. We recognise that there is still a bit to go to join the world's best teams.

"Every day you drive through the gates of St George's Park and you feel like you're making a difference to English football.

"It's an honour to lead your country, so to be able to do that for another four years is hugely exciting for myself.

"We are only successful because we have an outstanding support team and exciting players, who I believe over the next four years will improve, and I hope the players continue to excite the public.

"I think from my point of view, I joined as the Under-21 coach and head of the national [youth] teams around five years ago. Over that period there's been significant progress.

"We've been able to move that into the senior team and everyone knows what we are trying to do, how we do it. The board have been fantastic for the freedom to bring young players through."

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