Gareth Southgate admits Euro 2020 is key to him remaining England manager | Football


Gareth Southgate has admitted that he will not remain in his job as England manager if his team fail at the Euro 2020 finals next summer. Southgate is under contract for a further three years and says he will travel to the Club World Cup in Qatar next month as part of his long-term planning for the World Cup there in November-December 2022.

Southgate will follow Liverpool at the club tournament. He has four players in Jürgen Klopp’s squad: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He also wants to get a feel for the climate in Qatar at that time of the year and look at potential options for an England training camp.

But Southgate knows he will enjoy the benefits of his foresight only if England can perform well at what has come to feel like a home tournament next summer. They will play their three group phase games at Wembley and the semi-finals and final are also to be staged there.

Southgate’s team confirmed their place at the finals with last Thursday’s 7-0 drubbing of Montenegro at Wembley before they closed out the qualifying campaign with a 4-0 win over Kosovo in Pristina. But it has been a turbulent international break off the field after the bust-up between Raheem Sterling and Gomez, with Southgate criticised in some quarters for his handling of the affair. He made a public example of Sterling, dropping him for the Montenegro game.

Southgate was asked whether the trip to Qatar next month indicated that he would definitely be staying on for the World Cup campaign.

“That will depend very much on how we get on next summer,” Southgate replied. “When you have a week like you’ve had, you sense that people can fall out of love with you and, if there isn’t a warmth for you to continue, then that can start to affect the team. I’m realistic about how quickly those tides can turn.”

The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email.

It is unclear precisely how far Southgate would have to progress next summer but, after reaching the semi-finals at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, expectations are high.

“We’ve got to accept that,” Southgate said. “We should go in feeling confident about ourselves and, equally, we know there are areas of the game we’ve got to get better at. We’ve dealt well with the expectation over the last 18 months. We’ve not shirked from that in the qualifying matches where, in the past, there’s been a tension around the performances and the style of the games.

“Securing qualification is a little bit joyless because I’m expecting us to win these games and I’m always looking at how to get better. The players deserve huge credit for the way they’ve come through this campaign. But, for me, it’s about what’s next and I know we’ll always be judged ultimately by the tournaments in the summer.”

Southgate said England had to think and act with the conviction of an elite nation rather than worrying about pride before a fall in terms of long-term planning. The Club World Cup runs from 11-21 December, although Liverpool do not play their first game until 18 December.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is one of four Liverpool players from Southgate’s England squad expected to feature in next month’s Club World Cup.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is one of four Liverpool players from Southgate’s England squad expected to feature in next month’s Club World Cup. Photograph: Ognen Teofilovski/Reuters

“I’m going to Qatar to watch some of Liverpool’s games but also it’s exactly the time the World Cup will be played there so the climate will be ideal to get a feel of and pinpoint a couple of camps that we would stay in there,” Southgate said. “When I started [with England] and we looked at other federations, we were almost embarrassed to go and look at where we should be preparing for. And Germany were always there and they’d already secured the best bloody hotel.

“We’ve had to be a bit bolder and say: ‘No, it’s not a jinx to go and do it.’ We’ve got to have belief in what we’re doing and execute the right preparation. Without taking any focus off what we’re doing next summer, we’ve got to get the next bit right otherwise we’ll be behind the curve. The best organisations get that short-, mid- and long-term planning right.”

Southgate will not get his squad back together until March, when they will play two friendlies – most likely at home – and he will have time to dwell on their shortcomings. He mentioned the defensive looseness at set pieces; the challenge of playing out smoothly from the back and the vulnerability they can show when they lose possession to a high press. There also remain question marks over the composition of the midfield and whether the central defence is good enough.

But Southgate said that it was equally important to take reassurance from the team’s strengths and they lie principally in the three-man attack of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford. Rashford appears to have edged back in front of 19-year-old Jadon Sancho in the pecking order.

“When you look at that front three, that will be as good as any team in the tournament,” Southgate said. “They also know that, if they are not on it, there are young ones that are coming through. Most countries in the world would give anything for a No 9 like Harry.”


Source link

HP Inc. rejects Xerox’s acquisition bid

General election 2019: Tories back ‘whole life orders’ for child murder