Gareth Southgate ‘will STAY as England manager until Euro 2024’ due to public opinion in him getting more positive despite their World Cup exit against France
Gareth Southgate is expected to stay on as England manager until Euro 2024 after being encouraged that the public mood seems to have turned in his favour despite the team’s elimination from the World Cup to France last weekend.
No definitive decision has been communicated to the FA but it was reported on Saturday night that he is preparing to tell FA bosses that he will stay on for the final two years of his contract.
Those that know Southgate thought he was edging that way and it now seems certain the FA won’t have to launch a search for a new manager, which will be a relief having expressed their desire that he carries on in the job.
Gareth Southgate (pictured) will reportedly stay on as England manager for another two years
Southgate is understood to have been greatly affected by the reaction of the public on his return to England, sensing the positivity gleaned from how well England played and the nation’s desire to see the team on the front foot.
England’s leading players have also urged him to stay on after the France defeat and have messaged him to reiterate that. Southgate is likely to feel that he would be letting them down if he were to quit now.
However, it is clear that he went into the tournament expecting to quit. He had already hinted at how badly affected he was by the booing at Molineux last June after the 4-0 defeat by Hungary and by the groundswell of negativity towards him.
According to the report in The Sunday Times that Southgate planned to see out his contract, in a story written by Southgate’s biographer, the manager was close to announcing then that he would quit after the World Cup, thinking that if the fans knew he would going it would take the heat out of the situation.
His assistant Steve Holland talked him out of that.
Last week though Southgate has noted how balanced media and public reaction has been to the disappointment of elimination.
Unlike with the Euro 2020 final, when the occasion was marred by hooliganism, racist social media attacks on players and an anger towards Southgate, this has been a more unifying experience, the consensus opinion being that England pushed the world champions to their limits.
There has only been a very small backlash against Southgate. It means Southgate will be back at helm in March in a tricky Euro 2024 qualifying game against Italy in Naples, followed by a home match at Wembley against Ukraine.
With just 18 months to go until Euro 2024 and with Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden now establishing themselves as key to the England team, the temptation to continue has been pretty obvious.
With France and England now looking the strongest sides on the continent in terms of squad depth and quality and it would be uncharacteristic of Southgate to duck that challenge.
When the FA sacked Roy Hodgson in 2016, Southgate initially ruled himself out of the running, which saw Sam Allardyce appointed. Southgate quickly regretted that and so put himself forward when Allardyce was sacked after just 67 days, explaining that he urged his children to take risks and accept challenges and so he couldn’t then shirk such a huge opportunity.
It seems he is currently in a similar mindset. Leaving now would be a job half done.