Gareth Southgate has declared he wants to lead England out at the World Cup in Qatar – but admitted he ‘needs a break’ and time to reflect before signing a new contract.
The Three Lions fell at the final hurdle at Euro 2020 as they were defeated by Italy on penalties at the Wembley showpiece.
Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham said during the tournament that he wanted to hand Southgate a new deal, regardless of how the tournament ended for the Three Lions.
But, when quizzed on his future after the heartbreak of England’s cruel defeat, the 50-year-old was in no rush to commit just yet.
“I don’t think now is an appropriate time to think about anything,” Southgate said in a press conference on Monday, as he addressed the media in the aftermath of Sunday’s loss.
“We have got to qualify for Qatar but I need some time to go away and watch the game and reflect on the whole tournament, I need a rest.
“It is amazing experience but to lead your country in these tournaments takes its toll and I need a break now.”
Southgate, however, has said he wants to lead the team to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
He continued: “I said at the time it is great to have that internal support, you greatly value that as a manager.
“I don’t want to commit to anything longer than I should and I don’t want to outstay my welcome so all of those things need consideration.
“I want to take the team to Qatar, I feel we have made progress over the four years, we have had a fourth, a third and a second-placed finish and that is as good as anyone.”
The manager admitted he had not properly processed the result and said it was too early to be able to reflect on the positives of the journey to the final
“I know in time we will have an appreciation of that and I know the messages we are getting underline that,” continued Southgate.
“But when you are in sport and you get to a final you know those opportunities are rare. To be so close and to know what that has taken and know you have to pick up and go again, that is very hard the day after.
“We will go again, of course.”
The boss did, however, reject the theory that England are ‘too nice’ to win major tournaments.
“I don’t see that really, we got to a final for the first time in 55 years,” he said. “I am not really sure… you’re not a nice team to get to a final.
“We have overcome a lot of hurdles that we have been unable to in the past.
“If we had been torn apart or been a mess then I might look at it differently. It is easy to throw theories around at the end of any tournament, but it is important to analyse correctly when you are a coach, I don’t want to go along with theories that I don’t think are correct.”
Southgate also said that ensuring his players were supported after the penalty heartbreak was at the ‘top of his thinking’ in the hours after the final.
“We’ve got to make sure that we’re there, and aligned with their club, and making sure that we look after those boys, absolutely.”
Southgate says his players now know what is required to do well in tournaments, having reached the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and is excited for the future.
He added: “Russia was the beginning, we had seven in the starting team from Russia and that experience has been critical through the big matches in this tournament.
“So to add the young players in at the time we did, there is another group with more learning and understanding.
“Because of what they have been though in these two tournaments they will have a belief that they can get close.
“The cycle and the expectation of the group will know what’s needed to get to the level to get to win and that should be a process that stands us in good stead.”