Gareth Southgate has saluted the “brave” decisions former England internationals Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard have made in opting to start careers in management instead of choosing an “easier route”.
Despite enjoying little genuine success on the international stage, Gerrard and Lampard are regarded as two of England’s greatest midfielders in recent history, amassing 220 caps between them.
Gerrard, who was previously in charge of Liverpool’s Under-19s, has taken over at Rangers, where he will attempt to bridge the gap between them and Old Firm rivals Celtic.
Chelsea great Lampard, meanwhile, was hired as Derby County’s manager on Thursday, replacing Gary Rowett.
And Southgate was quick to applaud the duo for keeping their knowledge in the game, hopeful they will one day be contenders to do his job.
“They both know if they ever want to speak about anything, I’m more than happy [to talk],” Southgate told reporters ahead of Saturday’s clash with fellow World Cup qualifiers Nigeria.
“They’re two very good characters. In particular, I think, it’s great to see two lads that have a lot to offer the game, stay in the game.
“There’s an easier route to go – they haven’t taken that and that’s brave. Both of them, I’m sure, could have a far more comfortable life, but maybe not as fulfilling. They’re going to have a different type of challenge. They’re going to be developing different skills, having different experiences.
“It’s great that they have the opportunity to put back into our game. We want more England coaches. In the future, when the England manager’s job is available, we want lots of high-quality candidates.
“Whether they’ve played or not played, there are obvious advantages for guys that have played and what they can pass on once they’ve mastered the other bits. I’m really pleased to see it and wish them both well.”
Saturday’s visit of Nigeria will be the first of two World Cup preparation games being played ahead of England’s tournament opener against Tunisia on June 18 and Southgate is expecting to experiment a little.
He said: “You won’t see too many tactical changes, but these two matches are opportunities for us to look at players in different positions, combinations of players.
“There’s a lot of things weaved into how we use the two games. It won’t be a case of the team is the team that starts the first match. As with all of the friendlies, we use them for a specific purpose.”