Gareth Southgate has finally been confirmed as England boss after signing a four-year deal.
Given that there didn’t seem to be any other serious candidates, it’s taken a remarkably long time for the FA to appoint him, but he can now get to work on building for the next World Cup.
Despite his relative inexperience, his appointment seems to have ushered in a wave of unfounded optimism, with England at 4/6 to remain unbeaten for the rest of the qualifying rounds.
To win their next four is at 2/1, perhaps because the Three Lions always do much better in the run-up to major tournaments than they do when it actually matters.
One of the shrewder bets you can put money on is Jordan Henderson being made the next permanent captain. That’s at 4/1, and if Southgate does decide to replace Wayne Rooney as skipper, the Liverpool captain is arguably the strongest candidate as he’s been filling in with the armband anyway.
It’s been quite the year for England. Since June, they’ve now had three permanent managers, if Sam Allardyce’s reign is to be taken seriously at all.
Unsurprisingly, after his bizarre exit, SkyBet are bracing themselves for any more twists and turns; so Southgate’s at 66/1 to leave before the end of qualifying. It sounds ridiculous, but he’s just taken on probably the biggest poisoned chalice going.