Martin O'Neill has challenged Gareth Southgate to make the England job his own as he prepares to launch his interim reign.

The Under-21s boss will send out the senior national team for the first time in Saturday's World Cup qualifier against Malta after being asked to take over the reins on a temporary basis following Sam Allardyce's untimely exit.

As the man in possession, the 57-times-capped England international has since been touted as a long-term successor.

Republic of Ireland counterpart O'Neill, who has worked alongside Southgate as a TV pundit in the recent past, believes the former Aston Villa and Middlesbrough defender has been handed a glorious opportunity.

It's a fantastic opportunity for him, really great.

He said: "I don't know whether the job is his to lose or not, but I think he's got to be delighted, delighted to be given the opportunity.

"I think he was talked about beforehand, but I think that he felt he was a bit too young and perhaps inexperienced, and I agreed with that - and perhaps England were looking for someone like Sam to do the job.

"Fine, now that things have changed around, my own view is that it's a fantastic opportunity for him, really great.

"England have got a lot of good players. Expectation is very, very high in England, but as I said, I think he has got a fantastic opportunity in the next couple of months to go and cement the job for himself if he wants it.

"I'm sure if he goes in and wins a couple of matches, he will enjoy it immensely and I'm sure he would, probably want to take it full-time if that's the case.

"But like everything else, results are everything and those are the things that determine whether you are going to have the job or not."