England boss Gareth Southgate bats away question on future as pressure continues to rise


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Gareth Southgate says his contract is irrelevant and his future hangs on England’s World Cup performance in Qatar. The Three Lions manager extended his contract in November 2021 to run until the end of December 2024 – allowing for a potential handover period after the European Championships.

But he admits Monday’s game against Germany will be the acid test of the support England fans have for himself and the team after he was booed following the 1-0 defeat to Italy in Milan. And he was very non-committal when asked about his long-term future.

“I am not foolish – my sole focus at the moment is to get the team right for tomorrow and then we are focusing on a good performance and a good result,” he said.

“I know ultimately I will be judged on what happens at that World Cup. Contracts are irrelevant in football because managers can have three, four, five-year contracts and you accept that if results are not good enough it is time to go your separate ways.

“Why would I be any different? I am not arrogant enough to think that my contract is going to protect me in any way.” Despite England’s run of five competitive games without a win since putting pen to paper, the FA remain resolutely behind the man who rescued English from the doldrums in 2016.

“I am absolutely appreciative of that,” Southgate added. “But of course we understand how the mood changes with the results – and has changed.

“I am realistic about that and I will be judged on what we do in Qatar and I am perfectly happy to be judged in that way. History is history and you are judged on the next match and the next tournament.”

The Wembley crowd on Monday may not be so easy to keep onside but Southgate is adamant their support could be crucial to England’s chances later this autumn.

“Part of the reason we’ve been successful in the tournaments has been the feeling of togetherness,” he said. “We can’t succeed with fans against us, or the media not feeling warm towards us. It’s harder if we’re having to battle with the opposition and then battle with things on our own island.

“Only we can rectify that by performances and results, but that’s the desire.”


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