Gareth Southgate has revealed that he thought he would come as England boss before the Qatar World Cup, but now believes he has a chance to make history with the team after his family convinced him to stay.
The 52-year-old spent a week thinking about his future after England’s 2-1 defeat to France in the World Cup quarter-finals, before it was announced that he plans to sign a contract that will run until December 2024.
However, Southgate was left to wonder if he was the right man for the job after a 4-0 defeat to Hungary in the Nations League in June, and had considered announcing his resignation at the end of the World Cup.
Southgate told ITV News: “There were downsides to being responsible, and the last thing I wanted for that was to have an inclusive feeling going into a World Cup when you needed the fans and everyone behind the team.
“You need that energy; You need that sense of togetherness.
“And if the discussion was just about finding flaws in what we did, then it would be very difficult for the team to perform at their best.”
The disappointment of England’s humiliating Nations League campaign was quickly forgotten in the group stages, as Southgate’s side took a goalless draw against the USA to move forward with a 6-2 win over Iran and a 3 against Wales on both sides. He got a 0 win.
A 3-0 win over Senegal in the Round of 16 marked the quarterfinals against champion France, but ended in a 2-1 defeat when captain Harry Kane missed the second of two late penalties.
“The performance against France showed the players even if they didn’t believe it before, I still wonder if they really believed it before the game, but when they get off the pitch they know this is a game they can and must win,” Southgate said.
After the match, Southgate said he needed time to think about his future, announcing eight days later that he would stay on December 18.
The former Middlesbrough boss said his family played a key role in his decision.
“They left Doha saying you should try one more time and try to get this trophy,” he said.
That is Southgate’s clear target now, focusing on Euro 2024, where England drew with Italy, Ukraine, North Macedonia and Malta in Group C of the Qualifiers.
Southgate admits that the only way to respond to his critics would be with silverware, but said he believes it’s a realistic possibility for this generation of gamers.
“I’m in a job that has a chance to make history and I have the privilege of leading the national team,” he said.
“It has been an incredible experience. I think we’ve made progress with the team over the years we’ve been in charge, and I’m determined to take the team to the next level.
“I think we are in a different landscape from previous England teams because of the success we have had. For us, winning is probably the only thing that will satisfy us.”