Gareth Southgate picks "outstanding" Marcus Rashford in maiden squad as senior England manager

"The role is an honour... the opportunity to do this is something no one will be able to take away from me, and I'm excited by the challenge"

BY Newstalk 11:00 Monday 3 October 2016, 11:00 3 Oct 2016

Image: Mike Egerton / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Gareth Southgate faced the media for the first time today as England manager and thanked his predecessor Sam Allardyce after replacing him last week.

Allardyce's reign as England manager came to an end after just 67 days after he was part of an undercover sting operation, which caught on film talking to who he believed were businessmen representing a Far East firm and appearing to insinuate that third-party ownership rules can be circumvented.

Speaking today, Southgate said he was in contact with Allardyce following his vacating the post.

"We exchanged messages," he said. "I didn't want to be seen as someone waiting in the wings for an opportunity. I think Sam knew that. I felt it was important to thank him - he's obviously got his situation now and I've got to get on with leading the country forward.

"The situation developed so quickly, but when you're in football you get used to that. It was a moment to step up and put myself forward. I was in the best position to take them forward for these matches..."

Southgate named Manchester United duo Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford in his maiden squad as senior England manager and claimed that his familiarity with Rashford at U21 level helped with the decision.

"He was outstanding for the U21s last month, and he's starting for United. What impressed me most was his mentality, his maturity around the camp. He took to it no problems at all and I thought his performance was excellent."

He also handed Stoke City defender Glen Johnson an opportunity to reignite his international career with a first senior call-up since the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

"Kyle Walker and Nathaniel Clyne were two right-backs last time and we've lost Nathaniel. What's the rationale? The squad over the last two years we've gone young, young, young.

"I'm not sure you can keep doing that - there's a moment for some experience. To be able to bring in a player with 50-plus caps was something we felt was the right decision."

England squad for upcoming World Cup Qualifiers

Fraser Forster (Southampton), Joe Hart (Torino), Tom Heaton (Burnley); Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Glen Johnson (Stoke), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Chris Smalling (Man Utd), John Stones (Man City), Kyle Walker (Tottenham); Eric Dier (Tottenham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Michail Antonio (West Ham), Jesse Lingard (Man Utd), Raheem Sterling (Man City), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Dele Alli (Tottenham), Wayne Rooney (Man Utd), Marcus Rashford (Man Utd), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Jamie Vardy (Leicester).

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