Gareth Southgate considering future after England were knocked out of the World Cup by holders France on Saturday; Southgate contracted to England until conclusion of Euro 2024
Monday 12 December 2022 22:09, UK
Gareth Southgate is considering leaving his job as England manager.
England were knocked out of the World Cup by France on Saturday and Southgate wants time and space to make sure he makes the right decision.
Speaking after England's quarter-final exit, Southgate said: "These tournaments take a lot out of you, and I need time to reflect. We've done that after every tournament and that's the right thing to do."
He added: "I don't want to be four, five months down the line thinking I've made the wrong call. It's too important for everybody to get that wrong."
Southgate has never hidden the fact he wants to return to club management one day and if he was to leave England he would hope to land a top Champions League club in England or Europe.
The FA and England players want Southgate to stay until at least the European Championships in Germany in 2024. Last year, Southgate signed a two-year contract extension which expires after Euro 2024.
Southgate led England to a first World Cup semi-final in 28 years in Russia in 2018, going out in extra-time to Croatia, before a Euro 2020 final defeat on penalties to Italy in the summer of 2021.
Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler:
"He has done extremely well. I've seen England go out of a lot of World Cups, but rarely go out with this sense of wellbeing.
"The future is very bright, and of course that all stems from Gareth Southgate, the way he has taken on not just the job, but the job of developing the squad, and the whole business of developing the FA and turning it into a place where the young players want to actually go and come through the pathway - and can see quite a quick route into the national team.
"So, there is a 100 per cent argument for him staying, but obviously it's a personal choice and I can understand why [he is considering his future]."
Sky Sports' Peter Smith:
"We've got credibility now. The rest of the world believe that England are competitive." Gareth Southgate's words ahead of what could prove to be his final game in charge of his country are a fitting tribute to his legacy.
In the end, there was no trophy. France proved too strong, and football still hasn't come home. But the triumph of the Southgate era has been to transform a national team on and off the pitch, in how it is regarded at home and abroad.
When criticism of Southgate's style was flying around during a dip in performances and results earlier this year it was easy to forget just where he had taken this team from.
England, remember, had been embarrassed in consecutive tournaments when he took up the reins. They had finished bottom of their group and winless at the 2014 World Cup before the humiliation of Iceland at Euro 2016 two years later.
Since then, there's been a World Cup semi-final, a Euros final and now this quarter-final exit to defending world champions France. It's a level of consistency that only Sir Alf Ramsey among Southgate's predecessors ever achieved.
Throughout his time in charge, there were calls for him to cut loose and take off the handbrake. But through his considered approach to each major tournament test and inspirational leadership around the big issues away from the field, Southgate fashioned a side that delivered great moments for its supporters, with players held in greater affection than many who had gone before them. The connection between the players and the fans in the stands has been restored.
Southgate's England broke records, smashed through glass ceilings, and united the nation behind the Three Lions crest.
They were a penalty kick away from silverware at Wembley last summer. That first major title since 1966 remains elusive but as Southgate says, England have been restored to the elite level under his watch.
In the painful aftermath of defeat to France, that is a legacy to be proud of - and a fantastic platform for his successor to build on.