Former England star Southgate quits FA role

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."

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