Gareth Southgate set to stay on as England manager
DOHA, Qatar — Gareth Southgate is set to stay on as England manager until Euro 2024, sources have told ESPN.
Although there has not yet been any official communication and the Football Association declined to comment when contacted by ESPN on Saturday, it is understood the 52-year-old is now leaning towards remaining in charge after publicly admitting doubts over his future.
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Southgate became England boss after Euro 2016 and oversaw a dramatic improvement in the team’s fortunes, reaching the semifinals of the 2018 World Cup before guiding the Three Lions to last summer’s delayed Euro 2020 final, losing to Italy in a penalty shootout.
England were knocked out by France at the quarterfinal stage in Qatar and although he has a contract through to the end of 2024, he was considering whether he was the right man to continue in the role.
Southgate was concerned about the fan sentiment towards him after England’s relegation from the top tier of the UEFA Nations League, a campaign which saw him booed by his own fans as they slumped to a 4-0 home defeat to Hungary in June and then again away from home against Italy in September.
Speaking after the France defeat, Southgate said: “I’ve found large parts of the last 18 months difficult. For everything that I’ve loved about the last few weeks, I still look at how things have been for 18 months.
“What’s been said and what’s been written, the night at Wolves. There are lots of things in my head that’s really conflicted at the moment.”
However, the FA wanted Southgate to stay on and sources have told ESPN that multiple players contacted him to express their backing for him to lead the squad into the Euro 2024 qualification campaign.
Southgate has spent the week consulting with family and friends and views the mood around the team more positively than in the immediate aftermath of England’s 2-1 defeat to France.
Should the news be confirmed, it will remove what appeared a potentially difficult selection process to find Southgate’s successor.
Sources have told ESPN the FA would prefer an English candidate to succeed Southgate but Graham Potter has only recently joined Chelsea while Eddie Howe is in the midst of a Champions League qualification push at Newcastle.
With the two leading English candidates difficult to acquire, they would have considered options further afield including Leicester City’s Brendan Rodgers while former Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel and ex-Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino have both expressed interest in the role.
However, the FA’s first choice was always for Southgate to remain in his role and it appears likely they have got their wish.
England’s next matches are in March with two Euro 2024 qualifiers away to Italy and at home to Ukraine.