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Gareth Southgate: FA has set no Euro 2024 target for England boss to keep job but is succession planning

FA has not set specific targets at Euro 2024 for England manager Gareth Southgate to achieve in order to keep his job; FA already has a plan in place to find Southgate's successor; Sky Sports News understands Southgate seeking top job in club management after finishing with England

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Image: England boss Gareth Southgate's contract expires in December but he will discuss his future with the FA after Euro 2024

The Football Association already has a plan in place to find Gareth Southgate's successor, though it has so far not spoken to any possible candidate to replace him, and has not set specific targets for the England manager to achieve in order to keep his job.

Speaking on the eve of the European Championships, which England go into as one of the favourites to lift the trophy, FA chief executive Mark Bullingham fell short of saying he wants Southgate to stay on in the role beyond his current contract, which expires in December.

But it is clear Bullingham thinks Southgate has revolutionised the team, both on and off the pitch, and he has no plans to allow him to leave without a fight.

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"I think the world of Gareth," Bullingham said. "I think he has done a phenomenal job.

"I think he's transformed the fortunes of our men's senior team. I think that's not just off the pitch, which a lot of people talk about - you can see the culture. But also the performances on the pitch. [Since he took over] he has won about half of our knockout games, which are the measures we really use. You know we value him massively."

Sky Sports News has learned the explosive interview Southgate did with German newspaper Bild - where he said he expected to leave his role as England manager if he failed to win these Euros - was actually recorded in April, even though it was only published earlier this week.

Bullingham confirmed there is an agreement on both sides to sit down shortly after the Euros has finished, to "talk about everything" and decide whether or not Southgate should stay on.

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The 53-year-old's contract expires in December - a time-frame that was deliberate, to give both employee and employer time to reflect before making a decision.

"Gareth has been really, really clear that he wants to talk about that after the tournament," Bullingham said.

"And I don't want to provide any distraction for him and the team, and I want to respect the fact that he wants to talk about the future after the tournament."

FA has had no approach from any club for Southgate

Bullingham is clearly frustrated by reports suggesting the FA does not have a plan in place to find Southgate's successor.

He said: "I've seen some things about, 'Have we got a plan, haven't we?' Any organisation has a succession plan in place for their top employees, and we are no different to that.

"A succession plan normally includes everything from what you do for the short-term cover, through to a process you follow, through to [drawing up] a candidate pool. We have that for all our top employees."

England manager Gareth Southgate and FA chief executive Mark Bullingham (right) can be seen during the Emirates FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Saturday May 25, 2024.
Image: FA chief executive Mark Bullingham (right) will sit down with Southgate after the Euros

Sky Sports News understands Southgate is seeking a top job in club management after he finishes his role with England - whenever that day comes. He has been strongly linked with Manchester United, where his former FA boss Dan Ashworth is due to take over as sporting director.

However, United have decided Erik ten Hag will stay in his post for the short term at least, with a year left on his Old Trafford contract, and Ashworth is still in limbo as United negotiate his release from his Newcastle contract.

It is thought Manchester United want to pay as little as £3m in compensation, while Newcastle are calling for a fee in excess of £10m.

Bullingham has confirmed the FA has had no approach from any club to speak to Southgate about possible managerial vacancies, but it is thought Southgate has been sounded out about taking over the role at Old Trafford, at some point in the future.

Image: Southgate has been sounded out about the possibility of becoming Manchester United manager one day

In his interview with Bild, Southgate said: "If we don't win [the Euros], I probably won't be here anymore. It might be the last chance."

But Bullingham says that is not how the FA sees it. He is adamant it would be wrong to set targets on how far England must go in Germany, in order for Southgate to keep his job.

He said: "[The team] could go further but be playing poorly or have a really unlucky result where you get a couple of red cards and hit the woodwork three times.

"I think setting an arbitrary figure isn't the right way to go. I think we step back and look at everything after the tournament."

FA to pay for police officer to probe any race hate at Euros

The FA is to pay for a specialist police officer to investigate and prosecute anyone who racially abuses England players at the European Championships, which begin in Germany on Friday.

Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho were each targeted with online hate after they missed penalties in the final of the last Euros at Wembley in 2021, and the FA is determined that - even though it cannot prevent such abuse happening again at this tournament - it will have measures in place to try to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Bullingham told Sky Sports News: "In the past, what we've done is pull together all the data - effectively an evidence pack - to give to the police.

"This time we've gone a stage further, where we're actually funding someone within the UK Football Policing Unit, so within the British police. We're actually funding a unit which will then prosecute.

"What we don't want to do is create a pack that we then give to the police….but then they don't have the resource to actually take that forward. This is to make sure that….if there are instances of the vile abuse we have seen before, it gets prosecuted."

Bullingham says the initial cost is expected to be around £25,000 - but that could be more, depending on how many incidents the police need to investigate. The FA has enough resource set aside to fund as many investigations as are necessary.

"It depends how many prosecutions there are. It is a cost per investigation," Bullingham added.

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