The Football Association Chief Executive Martin Glenn gives Gareth Southgate full backing ahead of summer tournament.

England will face Belgium, Tunisia and Panama in Group G at next year’s FIFA World Cup finals in Russia with manager Gareth Southgate given the vote of confidence by the Football Association (The FA) chief executive, Martin Glenn.


Southgate was in Moscow last Friday for the Final’s Draw which saw England paired against former Everton boss, Roberto Martinez’s Belgium side who are the seeded team in the group.  


Speaking of The FA’s expectations for the England team in Russia, Glenn said: “We go out there wanting to win it but also being realistic. No one wants to have a bad World Cup but we’re confident he’s [Gareth Southgate] the right guy to take us through for the next few tournaments.”


Glenn said Southgate will be given full backing from The FA despite results in the tournament next year. England, then under the guidance of Roy Hodgson, were humiliated by Iceland at the 2016 European Finals in France, failing to qualify from the group. Following Hodgson’s departure, Southgate was appointed on a four year contract, making the step up from the managing England’s U21 men’s team. 


Glenn noted the success of the England U17 and U20 teams, who tasted victory earlier this year in India and South Korea respectively, but cautioned: “Long-term plans are hard to defend when the short-term results go against you. He’s not looking at Russia as a free pass. The World Cup’s a really important staging post for our development, I think.


“We’re going to do it in a way that’s sustainable. So we’re going to make sure that we’re picking the kind of players that can do their best in Russia and continue to kick on in 2020 and 2022.”


Ahead of Friday’s draw England confirmed they would be based in the Russian village of  Repino, approximately 30 miles from St. Petersburg.


England’s first game will take place against Tunisia on the 18th June in Volgograd. They then take on Panama in Nizhny Novgorod on the 24th June before the final group game with Belgium in Kaliningrad on the 28th June.


Early favourites for the tournament are a resurgent Brazil with talisman Neymar Jnr leading the line and current champions Germany. France are also expected to feature strongly with Manchester United’s Paul Pogba and PSG’s Kylian Mbappe key figures in the team that came runners up to Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal at the European Championship finals in 2016.


Image: PA Images