‘I never want to outstay my welcome’: Gareth Southgate confirms he will STAY as England manager for the 2022 World Cup… but won’t commit to the job beyond Qatar finals in 18 months
The FA want to hand the 50-year-old a new deal after leading the Three Lions to their first major final in 55 years following a World Cup semi-final appearance in 2018.
Gareth Southgate says he will stay in his role as England manager for the 2022 World Cup
Southgate and his players suffered heartbreak at Wembley as they were beaten by Italy on penalties in the final of Euro 2020
But speaking after England’s defeat, Southgate insisted now is not the time to be thinking about his future beyond next year’s tournament in Qatar.
‘I don’t think now is an appropriate time to think about anything,’ he said.
‘We have got to qualify for Qatar but I need some time to go away and watch the game and reflect on the whole tournament, I need a rest.
‘It is an amazing experience but to lead your country in these tournaments takes it toll and I need a break now.
Southgate says he needs time to reflect before commiting to a new contract with the FA
‘I said at the time it is great to have that internal support, you greatly value that as a manager.
‘I don’t want to commit to anything longer than I should and I don’t want to outstay my welcome so all of those things need consideration.
‘I want to take the team to Qatar, I feel we have made progress over the four years, we have had a fourth, a third and a second-placed finish and that is as good as anyone.’
Southgate said that ensuring his players were supported after the penalty heartbreak was ‘top of his thinking’ in the hours after the final and also insisted he had been the one to decide which players would step up.
‘We’ve got to make sure that we’re there, and aligned with their club, and making sure that we look after those boys, absolutely.
‘It’s my decision who takes the penalties, it’s not more experienced players backing out, they didn’t have the chance. It was my decision.
‘I’ve still got huge belief in them. Those boys have done a brilliant job. We heal together as a team now. We’re here for them, and I know 99% of the public will be as well.’
The manager said that ensuring his players were supported after the penalty heartbreak was ‘top of his thinking’
The manager made reference to the heartbreak France suffered when they were beaten on home turf in the final of Euro 2016.
Didier Deschamps’ side went on to win the World Cup two years later and Southgate said experiencing defeat can be something that inspires teams.
‘Most teams that win, France went through what we’re feeling now in 2016. Spain did it before they won. It’s normally part of the process you have to go to.
‘The fact we’ve had the first signs of some consistency – semi-final, final – that has to be the right direction.
‘When you get so close it’s more painful of course. It feels like my stomach’s been ripped out this morning. But I know that is the process we have to go through, and England have to keep that track going, whoever’s here, whoever’s at the FA.’
Southgate referenced the heartbreak France suffered in 2016 before going on to win the World Cup two years later
While Southgate is confident the future is bright for his team, he said it is too early to be thinking about Qatar and England’s chances at the tournament – with qualification yet to be confirmed.
‘When you’re in sport and you get to finals, you know those opportunities are so rare. To go so close, and to know you’ve got to pick yourself up and go again, that’s very hard the day after.
‘Sometimes it’s easy to say things like, we can go on to Qatar now and win. It’s a bit glib, really. We’ve still got to qualify, we’ve still got steps to take.
‘This has been fantastic, to get the time with the players that we get. Really embed the culture, embed our way of playing. Those periods are what you look for as an international manager and when you lose them it’s very difficult.’
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