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Gareth Southgate was given a grilling to ensure he was mentally strong enough for the England manager’s job, FA chief executive Martin Glenn said on Thursday.
Former international defender and England under-21 coach Southgate was handed a four-year contract this week having impressed the FA during four matches as interim manager following Sam Allardyce’s sacking.
With few other candidates in the running, his appointment came as no surprise but Glenn said the process was no cosy “fireside chat” and that those spoken to before Allardyce was appointed had also been reconsidered.
“We already had a good body of discussions or former interviews with people and that was the set of information we measured Gareth against,” Glenn told reporters.
“Gareth came through that process. I’ve seen the interview process was reported as a fireside chat, it was anything but.
“It was three hours with (consultants) Howard Wilkinson and Graeme Le Saux, the chairman, myself and (technical director) Dan Ashworth. There was some feisty opinions from the more technical people in the room.”
The England job has proved beyond the capabilities of a host of managers since Terry Venables led a team containing Southgate to the Euro 96 semi-finals.
Glenn Hoddle, Sven Goran-Eriksson, Steve McClaren, Fabio Capello and Roy Hodgson have all failed to make any real impact at major tournaments while Allardyce lasted 67 days after being embroiled in a newspaper sting.
Glenn said Southgate’s suitability was thoroughly tested.
“We looked at Gareth’s power of analysis, would it stand up to scrutiny?”, he added. “It’s a high-pressure role. We had him individually assessed for mental strength, how he makes decisions under pressure.
“We also had extensive background checks so there were a number of different data sets. We went through the psychological assessments together.”
Southgate said leadership qualities would be a key area he addresses, saying that in 1996 six or seven of the squad were captains of their clubs.
He has also sought a meeting with England rugby union coach Eddie Jones to gather new ideas.
While Wayne Rooney remains captain, Southgate said a permanent skipper was not necessarily set in stone.
“When you do have a permanent captain and you leave them out…it becomes a massive story,” he said. “Some countries have leaders of the group and then on matchday the one with the most caps is captain.
“It’s something for me to think about moving forward.”