England manager Gareth Southgate has confirmed that he plans to remain in charge of the Three Lions for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after guiding the team to the final of Euro 2020.
Southgate is under contract until the conclusion of the World Cup cycle ending in December 2022, but has no plans to walk away early in the wake of defeat to Italy at Wembley on Sunday night.
FA chief executive Mark Bullingham had earlier even said at the end of the group stage that Southgate would be offered a new contract beyond 2022 regardless of the rest of the tournament.
Southgate himself has labelled talk of a possible extension as ‘inappropriate’ at this time but will have his eyes on the next World Cup after taking some time to rest and recharge.
“I don’t think now is an appropriate time to be thinking about [a new contract],” the 50-year-old said. “We have to qualify for Qatar. I need time to go away and reflect on Euro 2020. I need a rest.
“To lead your country in these tournaments takes its toll. I don’t want to commit to anything longer than I should. It’s not a financial thing.
“As I sit here today, I would be wanting to take the team to Qatar.”
England lost the Euro 2020 final following a tense penalty shootout following misses from Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, which was followed by all three being targeted by despicable racist abuse on social media.
Southgate described it as ‘unforgivable’ and explained: “We have been a beacon of light in bringing people together in people being able to relate to the national team, and the national team stands for everybody, and so that togetherness has to continue.”
Southgate said that responsibility for the shootout defeat stops with him, with many criticising the decision to allow 19-year-old Saka to take the crucial fifth penalty.
“I chose the penalty takers based on what we’ve done in training and nobody is on their own,” he said. “We’ve won together as a team and it’s absolutely on all of us in terms of not being able to win the game tonight. But in terms of the penalties, that’s my call and totally rests with me.”
Jack Grealish publicly responded to criticism suggesting that he ducked responsibility in the shootout, tweeting that he absolutely wanted to take a penalty.
“I said I wanted to take one!!!!” Grealish declared. “The gaffer has made so many right decisions through this tournament and he did tonight! But I won’t have people say that I didn’t want to take a [penalty] when I said I will…”