Gareth Southgate: How is he doing halfway into his spell as England manager?


Gareth Southgate's interim tenure as England manager may feel like it's only just begun, but in terms of games he's halfway through.

Tuesday's goalless draw in Slovenia means he can't now match Sam Allardyce's untouchable 100% win record (from his one match in charge) - but at least the Three Lions stayed top of their World Cup qualifying group.

Here's a look at how things have gone under Southgate and what comes next.


Joe Hart pulls off a great save against SLovenia
Joe Hart pulled off the save of the century against Slovenia (Darko Bandic/AP)

Given Allardyce's reign only came to an end a fortnight ago, the rapid turnover meant a home match with Malta was a gift for Southgate. It was always a matter of the winning margin rather than the result and so it proved, with Daniel Sturridge and Dele Alli netting in a 2-0 win. Life against Slovenia on Tuesday was much tougher, with only Joe Hart's exceptional performance securing a 0-0 draw and preventing England from slipping to a first qualifying defeat in seven years.


Wayne Rooney on the England bench
England's most high-profile bench-warmer (Darko Bandic/AP)

Dropping Wayne Rooney, the country's all-time top scorer and most capped outfield player, was as bold as it was belated. Southgate's discomfort of giving any modicum of satisfaction to critics was clear, but it was borne out of the desire to add Eric Dier into midfield with stand-in captain Jordan Henderson. The duo underperformed on a difficult night in Slovenia, as did Jesse Lingard after a bright debut against Malta. Sturridge and Alli scored against Malta but failed to fire against well-drilled opponents on Tuesday, while Gary Cahill's place alongside John Stones at centre-back could come under pressure following a poor display.


Daniel Sturridge rues a missed opportunity for England
Daniel Sturridge and his fellow attackers aren't gelling right now (Darko Bandic/AP)

The Malta and Slovenia matches continued a recent toothless run for the England team. Despite having a host of attacking options at their disposal, Roy Hodgson, Allardyce and Southgate have all struggled to find the right formation and personnel to bring goals. England have now scored just four goals in five matches and there are more issues throughout the side. Mentality remains an issue - perhaps a hangover from the Iceland loss - and mistakes were far too frequent against Slovenia, whether in terms of accuracy or decisions. Passing was lax and build-up too ponderous, although the disruptive backdrop must have been tough for all.

Next up

Gareth Southgate on the sidelines with England
Will he get the job full time? (Tim Ireland/AP)

Southgate remains bookmakers' favourite to take the England role permanently and ends his temporary spell with back-to-back Wembley matches. A mouth-watering friendly with Spain ends the year after a crunch qualifying clash with old rivals Scotland. Both matches promise to be tough in different ways, but Southgate this time has more of a chance to make his mark on the side. A number of key injured players are in line to return for the matches, while the extended period allows him to weigh up other options worth inclusion. England need to perform, but Southgate's job in steadying the ship so far has been impressive.