Gareth Southgate is set to tell the Football Association that he wants to remain as England manager, after changing his mind in the wake of the team’s World Cup campaign.
England’s defeat to France, in the quarter-finals a week ago, left the manager’s future in doubt, despite having a contract until the end of Euro 2024.
It was likely to be up to Southgate, with the FA wanting him to stay on, but it wasn’t known if he was minded to stay on or not, especially after he dropped a hint.
According to the Telegraph, the 52-year-old has now made his decision, and will stay on until the next major tournament, in Germany, in 18 months time.
The report claims that Southgate spoke to family and friends about his future, after returning home with his squad from Qatar on Sunday.
Ahead of the World Cup, the former Aston Villa centre-back was actually expected to stand down from the position, even if he’d taken the team all the way.
That was due to the fact that there’d been so much negativity around the team in the previous months, especially last summer.
At that point, the Euro 2020 runners-up went four games without a win during the Nations League games that came after the club season.
They lost twice to Hungary, including a 4-0 loss at home, and drew with Germany and Italy, leading to calls for him to go at that point.
In September they again lost, this time to Italy, meaning they were relegated, but then drew 3-3 with Germany, having been 2-0 down, with fans wanting a more attacking approach.
Southgate now looks like he’ll stay. Image: AlamyThere is no doubt that the manager did turn things around in the Middle East over the past five weeks, even if it ultimately ended in failure.
Southgate went into the tournament with a back four in the opening game against Iran, abandoning the back five he’d previously played with, and continued it throughout the group stages.
That would have been expected to change for the knockouts but the manager stuck with it against Senegal and even France, who defeated them 2-1.
A source told the Telegraph that a change in feeling around the manager helped him change his mind and stay, saying, “The landscape is different to June. The concern was the negativity would inhibit the team and Gareth wasn’t sure staying would be an option.”
Southgate consoles Harry Kane after his missed penalty. Image: AlamyBetween 1968 and 2016, the national team had won just six games in elimination games in major international tournaments.
Southgate has matched that record in the past six years, reaching the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup, final of Euro 2020 and quarters this time around.
Despite it being their worst result of the three, England produced arguably their best football under Southgate so far.
The decision to bring Phil Foden into the starting line up after the first two games showed he’s more than willing to adapt when things aren’t going right.
He will no doubt be determined to leave having finally won the first silverware for England’s men’s team since 1966 in 18 months time.