Southgate set for Wenger showdown talks on plan he claims “make no sense”

Gareth Southgate says he is open-minded about Arsene Wenger’s World Cup plans but the England manager was critical of the proposals which ‘change every time’ during the last international break

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Southgate bemoans ‘really poor’ England display against Hungary

Gareth Southgate is set for showdown talks Arsene Wenger to discuss the ex- Arsenal manager’s biannual World Cup plans.

The England boss claims Wenger and FIFA ‘s latest proposals to have the tournament take place every two years and alter the international calendar “make no sense,” adding that “they seem to change every time” the organisation’s head of Global Football Development speaks.

Southgate will chat with Wenger and multiple international managers on Tuesday to run the rule over the hotly-debated plans.

Ahead of England’s World Cup qualifying match against Hungary this month, the Three Lions manager posed: “What if your player was injured in October?

“He doesn’t play international football for a year, so, I’m not quite sure where everything is, I saw some initial proposals, they seem to be doing the round, and I’m not quite sure exactly what’s on the table now.

Southgate is opened-minded about Wenger’s plans but has slammed the inconsistency


Mike Hewitt – FIFA)

“It seems to change every time I speak to Mark Bullingham and the FA, there’s been another presentation and another set of proposals, it’s hard to keep with really, all I would say is everybody needs to be there, in the discussion, club football, international football, I think I’ve said before there can be tweaks to the calendar that would help everybody.

“If there were maybe slightly fewer windows but you get players together for a longer period of time, that might help the clubs and the international teams, but if there’s only one per year, I don’t really understand that as a concept from Fifa when international football is so important a part of what you do.”

Southgate added: “As I said at the start, if you’re a player and you miss that one month or however long a break’s supposed to be, you don’t have an international career at all that year, that doesn’t seem to make sense to me.”

Wenger is the head of Global Football Development at FIFA

On Thursday, a second online meeting will take place in order to explore the new calendar from 2024 onwards – notably when UEFA ‘s new Champions League format comes into play.

That will not be the only topic, with player health, the frequency of tournaments, international windows and other pressing issues on the agenda.

However, Wenger has admitted that input from men’s national teams coaches is “essential.”

He went on to say: “Opportunities for us to come together are few and far between, but we must embrace these occasions as such dialogue helps us all to protect the unique place that football has in the world and to make it truly global.”

The Frenchman recently revealed his motivation behind his plans, explaining that he wants the whole world to benefit from an international shake-up.

“It is only my proposal!” the former Gunners boss told The Telegraph.

“I don’t make that decision. It’s for the whole football world to decide.”

Wenger continued: “Look I grew up in a village [in Alsace, eastern France] where I had no coach until the age of 19.

“I have managed many people who came out of Africa and had very few opportunities.

“Personally I would say that every talent deserves a chance in life and today that is not the case.

“If you were born with the same talent but you were born in Yaounde, London or Hanoi you have not the same chance to become a great football player.”

“You can say that about life in general but if you are responsible to give everybody the same chance then you have to worry about it.”

The 71-year-old concluded: “You don’t have to accept it.”

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