14 March 2024

Gareth Southgate to discuss contract after Euros as England target ‘next step’

14 March 2024

England manager Gareth Southgate is comfortable with fully focusing on making sure there is a Trafalgar Square party in July after European Championship success rather than worrying about his contract situation.

Southgate has made the conscious decision to put talks over his future on hold despite his current terms with the Football Association being set to expire in December.

Euro 2024 will be the fourth major tournament Southgate has taken charge of as England boss and he is determined to minimise any potential distractions.

“I have to deliver in the job I’m in, so there’s no point in me thinking any further ahead than that,” Southgate insisted.

“My focus is delivering the best possible European Championship for England. Since I came to St George’s, our target has been being in the final four of things, with the ultimate aim of winning.

“If you look at the trajectory of a team, we’re at that point where we’ve done a lot of the climb and the enjoyable bit and we’re at that last bit, really, of winning and getting over the line.

“We’ve shown the consistency in the world ranking for the last five years, so there’s consistency of performances. We have to translate that with the next step now.

“That’s the challenge I have to accept as well and I’m really comfortable with that.

“There’s no point in speculating about what might happen after the summer.

We've consciously shelved any discussions internally about what might be next

“I think we would have to sit and think about that at the end of the tournament. I’m happy to talk about it briefly now, but I’m not going to talk about for the whole summer, what’s next.

“We’ve consciously shelved any discussions internally about what might be next, because I think if we had sat and signed a new contract and done that before the tournament, everybody would have said: ‘Well, you did this with (Fabio) Capello and you should be proving yourself before you sign.’

“So, look, I’m completely relaxed about that and I have no idea where we’ll be in the middle of July, other than I hope it’s Trafalgar Square and let’s get the party on!”

On being the one to decide conversations around his contract being put on the back-burner, Southgate added: “Yes, because I think that has the potential to negatively affect the reaction to the team.

“The team need the clearest run they can possibly have at this tournament, so my job is to remove pressure from the team where possible.

“We’ve got to accept some pressure because we’re one of the favourites, but, equally, I don’t want to put anything additional onto the team.”

A key figure in England’s hopes of securing a maiden European Championship title is Jude Bellingham, who has enjoyed an excellent debut campaign at Real Madrid.

Bellingham has scored 20 times since a summer switch from Borussia Dortmund, but recently made headlines after he was sent off after he remonstrated with referee Jesus Gil Manzano at the end of a 2-2 draw at Valencia.

Southgate said: “I think with some of the great players that play with a mentality he has, I’m thinking (Steven) Gerrard, (Patrick) Vieira and (Roy) Keane, they compete. They don’t like losing, they love winning.

“They haul the team up by its boots at those moments and they are often on that line. That is often where he is, so the thing that gives him his greatest strength is something he has to make sure he is on the right side of.

“He has normally been able to stay controlled in those moments if he’s had a yellow card. This is the first time with the sending-off the other day that I can remember him stepping over that. He is a bright boy, he will learn from that.

“He is super intelligent and really receptive to learning and taking things in. He’s had an incredible season at historically the biggest club in the world. Everyone can argue with if that is still the case but we’re very happy to have him.

“We love that edge that he has but clearly he has to get that right.”

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