Gareth Can Turn England into 'New Spain'. but Not If He Gets Slaughtered for Losing a Couple of Games; Says Aitor Karanka

The Mirror (London, England), November 14, 2016 | Go to article overview

Gareth Can Turn England into 'New Spain'. but Not If He Gets Slaughtered for Losing a Couple of Games; Says Aitor Karanka


Byline: JOHN CROSS Chief Football Writer

AITOR KARANKA has given a ringing endorsement to Gareth Southgate - and believes he can transform England.

believe Englan Th man the he ge ns The Middlesbrough manager claims Southgate is perfect choice because can bring through a new generation of talent to the national team and be as successful as Spain.

But the former Spain and Real Madrid defender warned it is vital the FA stick with Southgate for the long term and build a philosophy for future success.

Football chiefs are set to make interim Three Lions boss a permanent appointment following tomorrow night's friendly with Spain after his four-game audition.

That match will be a tough acid test for England but Karanka thinks Southgate - who had a three-year spell in charge at the Riverside - is the right choice to try to emulate the success his country has enjoyed for a decade.

Karanka, who will be at Wembley, said: "I know from my perspective with the Spanish national team that he has the strength you need.

"He has experience, been a captain, managed in the Premier League and he knows how to work in the national set-up.

"I hope he will be successful, I will be happy if he can do it. I am really pleased to see Gareth in charge. He was our captain at Middlesbrough, our manager. I have a really good relationship with him from when he was England Under-21 manager.

"He is the right one because I felt he is doing now what we did in Spain. He was often asking me about Chalobah, Bamford and Gibson.

"It's the right step. But it's not about Gareth. If he loses two games in a row, it is not his fault, so it's build something strong. England can do it."

Southgate, 46, also has striking similarities to Spain's current boss Julen Lopetegui - another reason why Karanka believes him to be the perfect choice.

Lopetegui is 50, has succeeded bigger names such as Vicente Del Bosque (below) and - like Southgate - has also come through his country's system, having managed the national team at under-19, 20 and 21 level.

Karanka considers that link and bringing players through the age groups so they all mature together vital for long-term success.

He worked as Jose Mourinho's assistant at Real Madrid before moving to Boro and said: "It's the key in the national team, the key in my club, the key in every single club. The key is to work together.

"It is impossible to be successful if you want to bring in three or four players from Barcelona, three or four from Real, three or four from Atletico, and their clubs are not supportive. …

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