Gareth Southgate has completed his formal interview to become England’s next manager and could be appointed by the end of the month.
Southgate, who has been in charge of the national side for the past four matches on an interim basis, met with a five-man panel to outline his vision of the future at St George’s Park on Monday and Press Association Sport understands no other candidates have been invited for interview at this stage.
Assessing Southgate’s pitch was a Football Association panel comprising chairman Greg Clarke, chief executive Martin Glenn and technical director Dan Ashworth, with League Managers’ Association chairman Howard Wilkinson and former England left-back Graeme Le Saux also present in an advisory capacity.
Unless there is a major unforeseen stumbling block, Southgate’s name will go forward to an FA board meeting on November 30 when his confirmation as Sam Allardyce’s successor would be nodded through, with a four-year deal and a post-World Cup break clause in the summer of 2018 anticipated.
The 46-year-old has already made a favourable impression on the decision-makers, taking seven points from nine in World Cup qualifying ties against Malta, Slovenia and Scotland before signing off last week with an entertaining 2-2 friendly draw against Spain.
His measured public persona and the strong stance he took in dropping captain Wayne Rooney for last month’s clash in Ljubljana have also marked him out as someone capable of holding the top job.
On top of that the former Middlesbrough manager is well versed in FA protocols, planning and procedures from his three-and-a-half years in charge of the under-21s.
Although the interview process occupied three hours at the National Football Centre, finishing around 1pm, several key boxes on Southgate’s application had already been ticked in the course of what had effectively become a six-week audition.
As well as considering Southgate’s own position, a key part of the discussion revolved around his proposed backroom team and other staffing issues.
Chelsea coach Steve Holland has been working as Southgate’s assistant on a part-time agreement but a full-time move to the FA staff could be in the offing.
Blues boss Antonio Conte is keen to keep Holland but Southgate believes the kind of job-split arrangement that served Gary Neville during the Roy Hodgson years is insufficient.
Also waiting for news is Aidy Boothroyd, who has been looking after the England Under-21s in Southgate’s absence.Southgate has been in charge of the Young Lions since 2013 and is a keen supporter of a unified international pathway, adopting similar patterns of play throughout the age groups.
As such, he would want to work closely with his Young Lions successor and be granted a significant say in his identity.
One issue that may not receive as much attention is the guidelines around players’ free time on England duty.
Photographs of Wayne Rooney appearing to be drunk in the early hours of a wedding party he had been invited to join during a day off at the team hotel last week have caused embarrassment for both the player and the FA.
The activities of other players, who went out in a variety of locations on the same evening, have since been placed under the spotlight and the FA has said it will review the current protocols.
Liverpool duo Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana, captain and goalscorer, respectively, against Spain, are understood to have visited a Bournemouth strip club on the same night as Rooney was pictured but the FA has no intention of taking any disciplinary action against any of the squad.
That is not to say rules will not be tightened for future get-togethers, but any such review process is unlikely to get off the ground until the new manager is officially in place.
The usual debrief from the games against Scotland and Spain will take place later this week, with Southgate allowed to prepare for his interview before completing those duties.