Gareth Southgate is interim manager no more, having been named the official leader of England's national team. He's got a big task ahead of him, but what are the five most important issues he'll have to address?
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Sort out the defense
England have a solid crop of young and experienced defenders, but they haven't been able to find the right balance across the backline. Chief amongst those worries is the centerback partnership, with Chris Smalling, Gary Cahill, John Stones, Phil Jones and more all getting their shot in the heart of the defense. Southgate needs to stabilize the core of this team, and that starts at the back.
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Find the right balance in midfield
England are blessed with the most depth they've had in midfield in years, but they still haven't quite figured out exactly the right mix. Tottenham's pairing of Eric Dier and Dele Alli look like they could be the future, while Liverpool's Jordan Henderson's importance can't be understated. Then, there's Jack Wilshere, Ross Barkley, and a number of other quality players in the running for a spot in the first XI. It's not going to be easy figuring out the right balance.
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Empower the creative players
This is England's new 'golden generation'. They've never had the depth of creative players like Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana, Alli, Barkley, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain before. And they have to empower that crop because they have terrific strikers in Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Daniel Sturridge, Marcus Rashford and Danny Welbeck to feed to. Any two of those tricky, precocious attackers can turn any game on its head in a minute if utilized properly, and Southgate has to make sure he does indeed get the most out of their talents.
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Trust the youth, but don't rely on them too much
It's time for England to move into the future and utilize the exciting young talent they have in their ranks. Players like Rashford deserve their chance in the team based on their performances at the club level, but by the same token, it's equally important that the weight of the nation isn't placed on their shoulders moving forward. It's Southgate's monumental task to properly introduce the kids and get the best out of them, while simultaneously keeping them shielded from the immense pressure that comes with pulling on the Three Lions' shirt.
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Successfully phase out Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney's time is just about up with England. He simply doesn't have the legs to keep up at the highest level, and continuing to rely on him as an importance piece for the team will only end in failure. However, he's still got an immense amount of experience, and there's still quality in those boots. Finding the best way to include him in England's team as a leader and influence fo the younger players, while minimizing his on-field minutes will make Southgate's job a lot easier.