Gareth Southgate not interested in Aston Villa manager's job

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Ex-Aston Villa skipper Gareth Southgate has labelled his former team "a fantastic football club", but wants to continue in his role as England Under-21 boss.

Gareth Southgate has told TalkSport he’d not be interested in a return to Aston Villa as manager following Paul Lambert’s departure.

Southgate, 44, has been mooted as a potential candidate to replace Lambert after the Scot was sacked following the 2-0 defeat at fellow strugglers Hull which plunged the club into the Premier League’s drop zone for the first time this season.

The former Villa captain made 195 total appearances for the claret and blues between 1995 and 2001, but has stressed that he is committed to his role in charge of the England Under-21 side.

“[Aston Villa] is a fantastic football club and I had a brilliant time there, but I’m really enjoying what I’m doing [with the England Under-21s],” Southgate said.

“We have the European Championships this summer and we have a realistic chance of doing extremely well in that.

“You don’t get many opportunities to try and win something in your career so the summer is an opportunity for me to do that, and I’m not going to step away from what I am doing at this moment in time.”

Villa sit bottom of the top-flight’s form table after a dismal run of two wins in 21 games, while the club are also on course to be the Premier League’s lowest-ever scorers, having netted just 12 goals in their 25 matches.

Former Tottenham Hotspur boss Tim Sherwood remains the favourite to take over in the West Midlands, and Southgate believes he or any other potential hire will have their work cut out to avoid relegation.

“Immediately, they need someone who can try and instil some confidence into the players,” he added. “Longer term they need someone to work within a restricted budget. They have a young squad with an opportunity to develop some of the players there.

“But you’ve got to get results and a game plan quickly in order to get results on the board.”

Southgate is just the latest name to rule himself out of the running for the Villa job, with Steve McClaren, Neil Lennon and Avram Grant all joining the ex-Middlesbrough manager in distancing themselves from the role.

Nevertheless, given that he left the club for Teesside in controversial circumstances, after declaring that he needed to move on to a bigger club for the sake of his career, perhaps fans won’t be too disappointed to see him struck off the list of contenders.

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