Gareth Southgate wants to lead England into next year’s World Cup but says he needs time to reflect on Sunday’s gut-wrenching Euro 2020 final loss before even considering an extended deal.
Three years to the day after the World Cup semi-final loss to Croatia, another unforgettable summer came to a crushing conclusion for the Three Lions.
England’s clash with Italy ended 1-1 after extra-time, with Roberto Mancini’s men silencing Wembley by triumphing 3-2 on penalties after Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka failed from the spot in the shoot-out.
Crestfallen Southgate will eventually be able to take positives out of this summer’s run and says he intends to go again next winter when Qatar hosts the 2022 World Cup.
But talk of extending his deal beyond that tournament, as Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham recently said he wanted the manager to do, could not be further from his thoughts.
“I don’t think now is an appropriate time to think about anything,” Southgate said at Monday post-tournament press conference.
“We’ve got, of course, to qualify for Qatar but I need some time to go away, watch last night’s game again, reflect on the whole tournament. I need a rest.
“It is an amazing experience but to lead your country in these tournaments takes its toll and I need a break now.
“I said at the time it was great to have that internal support. You hugely value that as a manager.
“But there’s a lot to think about. It’s not about finance in any way or commitment.
“I don’t want to commit to anything longer than I should and I never want to outstay my welcome so all of those things need consideration before I’m even thinking about sitting down and talking.
“But as I sit here today I would want to be taking the team to Qatar. I feel that we’ve made progress over the four years.
“We’ve had a fourth place, a third place and a second place – it’s probably as good as any other team in Europe bar those that have won the tournaments themselves.
“But for consistency it’s right up there. A lot of things we’ve done right and we know this team isn’t at its peak yet.
“But that doesn’t guarantee winning because we know how difficult it is to get back to the stage we got to last night. That’s why it’s so painful to get so close.”