Thu 16 March 2023 | 19:30

Southgate reveals he was close to quitting England before World Cup

After ending up as runners-up in Euro 2020, Southgate led England to the quarter-finals in the Qatar World Cup. Despite having doubts over his future ahead of Qatar 2022, the English coach is now targeting Euro 2024 success.

Southgate endured a disastrous start to the year with England as they failed to win any of their six Nations League matches ahead of the World Cup, including a 4-0 home defeat to Hungary. Although the 3-3 draw with Germany gave Southgate hope, he reveals he was close to quitting his job.

Naming his squad for the upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine, Gareth Southgate said: "

The doubts I had came before the [World Cup], really.

"I spoke about this a couple of months ago so I'm going over old ground, but I never wanted to be a divisive figure, in terms of me doing the job affecting the performance of the team.

"Then there would be a debate where people say 'I'd rather you lose so you're gone'. I did worry before the World Cup whether I should say I was going at the end, to allow the team the freedom to play.

"I decided not to do that, because when we left Wembley after the Germany game there was an uplift with the mood, and we've always known where we stand with the players.

"I also wanted to show that you've got to come through tough spells as a manager, I'm not going to duck a challenge just because there's criticism.

"But if there's not the level of support and it starts to affect the team, that's something I'm conscious of and that was my thought well ahead of Qatar."

Southgate is aiming for Euro 2024 success after losing Euro 2020 final to Italy on penalties.

"I think it's right to assess after a tournament," he added. "We have to start from scratch.

"We have some great experiences over the last few years, which mean being European champions is a realistic aim.

"But we're starting from the beginning again, and we've got to find the hunger to qualify.

"We've got two crucial games and we need everybody firing for two really difficult qualifiers."



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source: SportMob

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