McClaren not ready for England - Southgate

April 22, 2006

Former England defender Gareth Southgate believes his club boss Steve McClaren is not yet ready for the England job.

Middlesbrough manager McClaren is one of the leading candidates to replace Sven-Goran Eriksson when the Swede steps down as England boss after this summer's World Cup in Germany.

But Southgate, the Middlesbrough captain and centre-half who won 57 England caps, feels McClaren is not ready for such a role.

Other English candidates Sam Allardyce and Alan Curbishley and Northern Ireland's Martin O'Neill are not ready yet either, according to Southgate, who would love to see Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger land the job.

'It's a really difficult decision,' Southgate told the Sunday Times. 'It should be much easier next time with this group of young managers who are coming through.

'If you had them four years on you would have the ideal scenario because they would all have had much more experience and would probably have worked at bigger clubs. I'm not sure that they are ready now.

'My heart tells me it should be an Englishman, but if you ask me who I think would be the best I would have Arsene Wenger.

'He would be absolutely brilliant and I would love to see England play the way Arsenal do. That would be the ultimate.'

Southgate does not deny McClaren has strengths, however, and added: 'He wants to be well prepared, he wants input from his staff and he seeks opinions. He is also prepared to change tactics.'