London, Oct 13 (IANS) Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on Thursday backed England interim manager Gareth Southgate to take over the role in a permanent capacity.
“Is Southgate the outstanding candidate for the job? Yes. In England, there’s always the demand for the big names — that is the difficulty. 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,” Wenger told reporters here on Thursday.
“He (Southgate) has a good opportunity to show that. I’m happy to see that he has an opportunity to show that he has quality.”
Southgate has guided the England team in two World Cup qualifiers. The England team, who had crashed out of the European Championships following a defeat to Iceland earlier this year, continued their rather prolonged run of poor form with a laboured 2-0 win over minnows Malta and a goalless draw with Slovenia.
Wenger however, asserted that the former England defender has the ability to take the England team out of their prolonged slump.
“He 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 Frenchman insisted.
“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.”
Wenger has been at the helm of the Arsenal squad since 1996 and has also been linked to the England job due to his long experience in the English Premier League (EPL).
The 66-year-old however, insisted that he is focussed on his role with Arsenal and has no intention to manage the England squad as of now.
“I focus on my job, that’s what it is about,” Wenger said.