Under-21 manager Gareth Southgate may have been brought in to fill Sam Allardyce’s shoes in an interim capacity, but the shock ending to Big Sam’s ill-fated England reign has left the national team without a permanent manager just days before World Cup qualification matches resume.

Here, we look at some of the leading contenders who could fill the void.

1. Alan Pardew

(Scott Heppell/PA)

Pardew seemed to be a new man after swapping Newcastle for Crystal Palace and some fine early season results saw him seriously linked with the England job for the first time in his career.

He reached the FA Cup final but league results tailed off badly – however, a slow start to this campaign has been followed by three successive Premier League victories.

2. Eddie Howe

(Steve Paston/PA)

A smart, erudite and tactically savvy coach who, at 38, looks to have a bright future at the top of the game.

The manager has flourished at Bournemouth and only last week described coaching England as the “ultimate” job. “I would never say no,” Howe said.

3. Gareth Southgate

(Gareth Copley/PA)

Highly thought of by the decision-makers at the Football Association, Southgate will take charge of the senior side for the next four games in an interim capacity.

The former Middlesbrough boss was brought into the fold to coach the Under-21s with an eye on future progression.

Southgate faltered at last year’s Under-21 European Championship but led the team to victory at the Toulon tournament in the summer.

4. Steve Bruce

(Andy Gatt/PA)

The former Manchester United defender was interviewed in the summer about the vacant England manager’s job.

Just days after speaking to the FA, Bruce decided to call time on his spell at Hull, where he had become the most successful manager in the club’s history. He remains out of work.

5. Jurgen Klinsmann

(Danny Lawson/PA)

The former Tottenham striker has managerial experience at international level, having been in charge of the United States for almost five years and Germany before that.

America fell to a semi-final Copa America exit in the summer, while Klinsmann guided Germany to the last-four stage at the 2006 World Cup.

6. Gary Neville

(Chris Young/PA)

Neville seemed a heavy favourite to progress from his role as Roy Hodgson’s assistant until his ill-advised stint with Valencia saw his stock plummet.

It may yet be decided that was a case of the wrong job but the right man.

Out of coaching since exiting with Hodgson during the summer, the videos of Allardyce appear to show him saying Neville was the “wrong influence” on his predecessor.