England manager Gareth Southgate is “conflicted” as he weighs up his future in the role following the side’s World Cup quarter-final exit to France.
Southgate made it clear after Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Les Bleus that he will not rush into a decision on his future, while the Football Association have left that call in his hands.
The England boss, who led the side to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and Euro 2020 final, has been in charge since 2016 and is contracted until December 2024.
The 52-year-old had made it known he wanted to enjoy the 2022 World Cup, having a “difficult” period after England’s penalty shoot-out loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final, which erupted after losing 4-0 to Hungary in Wolverhampton during June’s UEFA Nations League fixtures.
“I’ve found large parts of the last 18 months difficult,” Southgate said. “For everything that I’ve loved about the last few weeks, I still have… how things have been for 18 months.
“What’s been said and what’s been written. The night at Wolves. There’s lots of things in my head that’s really conflicted at the moment.
“What I want to make sure, if it’s the right thing to stay, is that I’ve definitely got the energy to do that. I don’t want to be four or five months down the line thinking: ‘I’ve made the wrong call’. It’s too important for everybody to get that wrong.”
Before departing from our Al Wakrah base, we sat down with Gareth Southgate to reflect on the #ThreeLions‘ @FIFAWorldCup adventure, last night’s game and your incredible support this winter. pic.twitter.com/meU9DKy2UF
— England (@England) December 11, 2022
Southgate has transformed England since their disappointing Euro 2016 last-16 exit to Iceland, becoming a genuine title contender with a new wave of exciting talent.
The ex-England defender had no timeframe on when he would make a decision on his future, stating he was eager to overcome the emotion of the defeat before making a call.
“When I’ve been through the past few tournaments, my emotions have been difficult to really think through properly in those following few weeks,” he said. “It took so much energy out of you and you have so much going through your mind.
“I want to make the right decision either way because it has to be the right one to go again, or the right one not to go again, and I don’t think now is the time to make a decision like that. Neither are the next few days, really.”
Southgate added that he was not sure when he was ever going to get over England’s latest World Cup exit, but spoke with a sense of pride about their performance.
“I don’t think I have got over the last one [Euro 2020] but this feels a little bit different because when we reflect on what we’ve done, I’m not sure what more we could have done or given,” he said.
“I think we’ve given a really good performance against a top team. It was a significant psychological step for those players.
“I have been involved in nights where we have played top teams and been on the back foot for the majority of the game and been dominated. We wanted to be bold in the tournament and I think we went toe-to-toe with them.
“We have said we want to be competitive all the way through with England and we are, I believe, in that top table … the last three tournaments, we have restored credibility.
“The rest of the world look at us as a good side, but we are here to win, and we haven’t won.”
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