Southgate hints he will stay if Euros are a success
GARETH Southgate has suggested Euro 2024 success could see him extend his tenure as England manager.
Initially brought in as caretaker boss in 2016 following Sam Allardyce’s exit, the 52-year-old led the side to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and third place in the following year’s Nations League.
England were agonisingly close to winning the Euro 2020 final at Wembley, only to lose on penalties to Italy – yesterday’s opponents as Euro 2024 qualification got under way.
Southgate contemplated walking away in the wake of December’s World Cup quarter-final exit to France, but is reinvigorated by next year’s shot at success in Germany.
Asked if the Euros represent his last chance, Southgate said: “Well that depends if we win.
“I think you have to be careful as a player not to assume when you’re younger that this might not be your last chance as well.
“Of course you’re always going to think you’re going to have other opportunities but injury, form, new players coming through in your position, you can never take that for granted.
“Clearly the older ones know the timescale is quite clear. But everybody else has to be mindful of that as well.”
Pushed on whether he would stay if England win the tournament, Southgate – whose contract expires in 2024 – said with a laugh: “Let’s hope we’ve got that opportunity to make that decision.”
Midfielder Declan Rice said the loss to France will be an extra motivation to England moving forward. “I think if we look at ourselves after that France game, we took a lot of positivity from the game, even though we lost,” he said.
“There was a real belief in the room that we can compete with the best, but it’s down to us to go that one step ahead, beat a top nation and win a trophy. That’s all that is on our minds.” Southgate is making the most of this fourth major tournament campaign in charge rather than thinking of it as potentially his last big adventure.
“I’m just thinking about game to game, preparing the team as well as possible,” Southgate said. “I’ve for a while felt I need to enjoy the experience. I think that emits itself to the players when you do that.”
I’m just thinking about
game to game, preparing the team as
well as possible.