England bosses at the FA fear Gareth Southgate will quit as manager regardless of how the Three Lions fare in Qatar at the World Cup this winter, according to reports. The 52-year-old has restored hope to the nation in recent tournaments but, having gone five games without a win, is now under pressure. And though the former Middlesbrough boss won’t be axed right now, there are genuine fears among his superiors that his time in the dugout is drawing to a close.
Southgate was ridiculed for saying England’s 1-0 defeat to Italy on Friday was a ‘step in the right direction’, with the Three Lions looking disjointed as they crashed to another loss.
But, despite results worsening ever since their failure to win the European Championships last summer, the FA want the 52-year-old to stay.
However, there are concerns behind the scenes that Southgate will quit the role regardless of how England fare at the upcoming World Cup in Qatar according to the Daily Mail.
The Three Lions are one of the favourites to reign supreme in the Middle East, especially after their impressive performances at the last two major tournaments.
They reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2018, losing to Croatia 2-1 as they agonisingly missed out on a place in the final.
And they battled their way to the final of Euro 2020 last summer, only to slip to defeat against Italy after Luke Shaw’s goal had given them an early lead.
Want the latest football news? Join our brand new Facebook group by clicking here
With England now going five matches without a win, and failing to score in open play for 450 minutes, hope of a successful tournament is fading.
Yet the FA are committed to Southgate and have no plans to relieve him of his duties, despite results worsening.
England are due to lock horns with Germany – who they beat at the Euros last summer courtesy of goals from Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling – at Wembley tonight.
And Southgate, speaking ahead of that match, has admitted his contract that runs until after Euro 2024 is irrelevant when it comes to staying in the job.
“I know ultimately I will be judged on what happens at that World Cup,” he said.
“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.
“I am absolutely appreciative of the FA’s support. But, of course, we understand how the mood changes with the results.
“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 report adds that Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope appears to be winning the race to be England’s No 1 in Qatar, ahead of Jordan Pickford and Aaron Ramsdale.
He’s said to be ‘hopeful’ of starting against Germany tonight as he looks to consolidate his place between the sticks.
And Manchester City’s John Stones is primed to be restored to the team, though it’s unclear whether this will be at the expense of Manchester United’s Harry Maguire.
Southgate wants England fans to get behind their team on Monday night, insisting that can be key to a rapid turnaround in form and fortunes.
He added: “We’ve got 90,000 people, the stadium’s sold out. People want to come and see this team play.
“That’s because the players have done an unbelievable job for six years.
“We were on the back of a really difficult time, in terms of relationship with the fans, at the start of that jo
“Slowly we’ve built the (tournament) finishes that have been discussed already in this room.
“Of course it’s not healthy for the team to be having this noise around them. I fully understand that.
“But it’s for me to take responsibility, it’s for me to allow them to go and play. I want them to feel the freedom.
“I think they know that we always talk about that within the training ground and on the training pitch.
“I would urge the supporters to get behind the team. How they deal with me at the end or whenever, on the phone-ins or whatever else, is completely different.
“But this is their last chance to see the boys before they go to the World Cup and we’re all in it together.
“We can only succeed if we’re all pushing in the same direction and we’ve all got that positive energy towards doing well.”