Gareth is Grayson’s favourite

Gareth Southgate pictured in 2015 at PlayFootball in Ingol

Gareth Southgate pictured in 2015 at PlayFootball in Ingol

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Preston boss Simon Grayson thinks the appointment of his former team-mate Gareth Southgate as England manager ‘ticks all the boxes’.

Grayson and Southgate were colleagues at Aston Villa in the 1990s, Southgate the Midlands’ club skipper.

A four-game stint as interim manager saw Southgate impress sufficiently to be offered the job, while his work with England Under-21s previous was clearly a factor which went for him.

“Gareth was my captain at Aston Villa, very much a student of the game,” said Grayson.

“He led the dressing room, asked questions of the coaching staff and took responsibility,

“When things needed to change he understood what he had to do.

“Gareth was always going to go down the coaching line but I don’t think you can look at anyone and say they would be the England manager one day.

“With how things worked out in recent weeks, it was inevitable that he was going to get the job, I don’t know why it took so long.

“When you looked at what was out there, no one was above Gareth in the pecking order.

“I felt it was important they go down the English line for the appointment.

“A few years ago when they went down the foreign route, that was a bit dismissive of English managers.

“All the boxes are ticked for Gareth and I hope he goes on and does well.”

Grayson does not regard managing England as an impossible job, although it has its big challenges.

“We talk about expectancy at club level, but with England you have the whole nation riding on your back,” said Grayson.

“Gareth will embrace that and welcome the challenge.

“If he is successful, he will be held in high esteem and I hope he can take England forward

“I don’t think it is an impossible job, yes it’s difficult but there’s no need to look on it as a negative.

“Why would anyone take a job thinking they are going to fail? You take any job and do it to the best of your ability, I’m sure Gareth’s glass is half-full and not half-empty.

“He has managed the Under-21s and did the four games recently in temporary charge – Gareth fits into the FA mould.”