Former England and Aston Villa defender Gareth Southgate has quit
his role as the Football Association's head of elite development
after only 18 months.
Southgate, a former Middlesbrough manager, had been regarded as
one of the leading candidates to fill the position of FA
technical director, which includes a wide-ranging brief to reform
the English game at all levels.
But after leaving his post, Southgate, who won 57 caps for
England, said he no longer wishes to be considered for the
technical director job.
Southgate, who will continue to work as a television pundit for
ITV, said in a statement: "I'd like to place on record just how
much I've enjoyed working at the FA over the past 18 months. It
really has been an honour and a pleasure."
Southgate, who famously missed a crucial penalty in the shoot-out
that led to England's Euro '96 semi-final defeat against Germany,
played a leading role in bringing in significant changes to youth
football, with smaller pitches, goals and team sizes until
players reach the age of 13.
"Hopefully, I have been able to play some part in delivering
important changes to the way children play at the youngest
levels," Southgate said.
"The FA is heading in the right direction in terms of developing
more, better coaches and players at all levels of the game under
the leadership of David Bernstein, Alex Horne and Sir Trevor
Brooking. I would like to thank them for their support throughout
my time with the organisation."
FA general secretary Alex Horne added: "We're disappointed, but
understand his decision and would like to thank Gareth for his
efforts and wish him well for the future."