Gareth Southgate will take time to consider his future as the England manager following their World Cup quarter-final exit.
Southgate was appointed manager in 2016 following the Euro 2016 tournament. Since then, he has come achingly close to leading the national team to their first major trophy since 1966.
The Three Lions have fallen short at the final hurdles for three consecutive tournaments; the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup, the Euro 2020 final and now the quarter-finals in Qatar. There have been great expectations for the current squad to go all the way in the competitions, given the quality and depth across the pitch.
Southgate’s style of play has been widely criticised by supporters, even more so when England suffered their worst home defeat since 1928 – a 4-0 loss to Hungary at the Molineux in June.
His contract is set to expire at the end of the Euro 2024 tournament, though it’s up to him whether or not he stays until that point.
Southgate addresses future as Three Lions boss
Speaking to The Times, he said: “I’ve found large parts of the last 18 months difficult. 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 is that if it’s the right thing to stay, I’ve definitely got the energy to do that. 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.
“When I’ve been through the past few tournaments my emotions have been difficult to really think through properly in those following few weeks. 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, and I don’t think tonight is the time to make a decision like that. Neither are the next few days, really.
“After every tournament I’ve sat with everybody at the FA and talked things through logically, and that’s the right process to go through again.
“I don’t think I’ve got over the last one [the Euros final] 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. We wanted to be bold and we went toe to toe with them [France].
“The players should be really proud of what they’ve done. We’ve given a really good performance against a top team, which was a significant psychological step for those players. We are, I believe, in that top table where the last three tournaments we’ve restored credibility. The rest of the world look at us as a good side, but we’re here to win and we haven’t won.”