With Gareth Southgate considering his role as England manager, Sky Sports News has been told of conversations that hint he might yet be planning to stay on for Euro 2024.
In the aftermath of England’s World Cup quarter-final defeat to France, Sky Sports News has learned Southgate spoke to a number of players who did not feature much – or at all – at the tournament to reassure them that they are still part of his plans for the team going forward.
Before the squad left Qatar, and despite the disappointment of being knocked out, the manager wanted to speak personally with those players who might have felt they were surplus to requirements – and reassure them about the future.
The fact that the manager wanted to counsel some of the squad’s fringe players about their England futures when his own future is so uncertain, is significant.
The obvious question would be: why would Southgate try to reassure the likes of James Maddison, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Conor Coady, Conor Gallagher and the two unused goalkeepers, Nick Pope and Aaron Ramsdale, that they still have a role to play for England, if the manager himself was planning to resign?
If he is serious about leaving, he could not offer such guarantees to players who would then be looking to impress a new England manager.
Southgate last spoke to the media on Saturday, following England’s defeat to France.
“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 said.
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.”
He has told his bosses at the FA he needs some time to reflect before discussing his future with them.
Merson Says: Why would Southgate walk from England?
In his latest Sky Sports column, Paul Merson makes the case for Gareth Southgate staying on as England manager despite Saturday’s World Cup exit to France, examines where it went wrong for the Three Lions, and why Harry Maguire returns from Qatar with his head held high.
He said: “I hope Gareth Southgate doesn’t go. I heard him say he’s fed up with all the criticism that comes with the job but it’s no worse than the criticism that comes with managing a club, at least he only gets criticised every now and then with England.
“If I was Southgate I would stay on. He’s the manager of England, he’s very well paid, he’s almost guaranteed to qualify for Euro 2024 where he can have another stab at winning a tournament.
“What else is he going to do, manage a team in the bottom half of the Premier League where he’s constantly putting out fires and battling to keep a team up? Compare that to meeting with the best talent in England every few months, sitting back and watching how good they are.
“As England manager you often see Gareth watching the big Premier League matches. If he moves into club football he will still be going to those games, only this time he’ll be watching those big teams pommel his team. He’s got to think twice and have a real good think about what he does next because the grass isn’t always greener.
“Why would you walk away? Because someone said you should have done this or that? You don’t hear too many managers criticising Southgate. I’ve heard a lot of people who have never managed in their life criticising him. It’s a bit different when you’re the manager, it’s all well and good criticising when you have no experience of what it is like. I don’t know what people are watching sometimes.
“Southgate has got an unbelievable job. He’s working with the best talent England have had for a long time. We are big players, serious contenders whenever we go to a tournament, we are no longer also-rans thanks to him. This story doesn’t have to end now.”
Read much more from Merson Says HERE
Capello: If you are sure players are with you, then you have to stay
Former England manager Fabio Capello also sat down with Sky Sports News’ Kaveh Solhekol in Qatar, with questions still swirling over Southgate’s future.
Some have asked whether the next manager should be English, or whether attentions may turn to a foreign coach. Capello is only the second non-Englishman to have taken charge of the squad, along with Sven-Goran Eriksson.
When asked about the job Southgate has done with England, Capello said: “He’s done a good job. He’s created really good young teams and the future is bright but he has to decide what he wants to do.
“If you are sure that the players are following you then you have to stay. If the players are not with you then you have to retire.
“The pressure of the press is big. You have to live with it. This is normal for an England manager. When you sign the contract you have to understand this.
“Being manager of the top teams is the same you have to win. The problem with the England job is you have to wait four years. England had a chance to win.”
Reflecting on England’s exit to France on Saturday, Capello added: “England were one of the best teams at this World Cup but during the game they made mistakes – the defending for the Giroud goal.
“But the big mistake was the ‘keeper – not just for the first goal but after when he had the ball he always kicked it long when it was possible to play out from the back. This is the same mistake as they made against Italy at the Euro final. I don’t understand why they do this.
“It was a finely balanced game. France had Mbappé. The difference between the sides was the mistakes. You can’t just blame the managers, players have to take responsibility.
“England had a really good team and they arrived fresh but they were unlucky. England are not lucky at World Cups. The history is of mistakes by the goalkeepers, the players and the referees.”
#Gareth #Southgate #hints #England #stay #World #Cup #exit #Football #News