An emotional Gareth Southgate has said he needs time to make a decision on his future after Harry Kane suffered heartbreak in England’s heartbreaking quarter-final loss to France.
England’s hopes of winning the World Cup ended in tears after Kane, who had already scored an equalizer from the spot, burst from 12 yards when given the chance to make it 2-2 during the final stages at the Al Bayt stadium.
The captain’s failure allowed France, who won thanks to goals from Aurélien Tchouaméni and Olivier Giroud, to face Morocco in the last four and the result raised questions over whether Southgate will remain in the squad. orders after six years in this position.
The head coach, whose contract runs until December 2024 and is taking part in that year’s European Championship in Germany, cut a deflated figure after overseeing a near miss for the third tournament in a row. The Football Association don’t want to lose Southgate and are hoping to convince him to stay, but he could walk away after indicating he may not have the energy to lead England to Euro qualifying 2024.
“I think every time I finished these tournaments I needed time to make the right decisions because emotionally you go through so many different feelings and the energy that goes into these tournaments is huge,” Southgate said.
“I want to make the right decision, whatever the moment, for the team, for England, for the FA, and I have to be sure that whatever decision I make is the right one. I think it’s fair to take some time to do this because I know in the past how much my feelings have fluctuated in the aftermath of tournaments.
England’s Euro qualifying campaign begins in March and Southgate was asked if continuing to manage young stars such as Jude Bellingham, Declan Rice, Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka would come into his thinking when discussing his work with the FA.
“Of course,” he said. “We’ve always wanted to develop a group that can sustain the kinds of tournaments we’ve run. We continue to do that. It’s more the decisions around it. Coming back takes a lot of energy. You have to make sure you’re ready for it. Tonight I have too many things in my head to think logically. We wanted to win. Tonight we fell short.
Kane, who said he would take his missed penalty “on the chin”, offered his support to Southgate. “I think we have a very bright future,” said the striker. “We like having Gareth as manager. We want him to stay for sure, but it’s his decision.
Southgate defended Kane, who would have broken Wayne Rooney’s record of 53 goals for England had he converted his second penalty. “As you’d expect, it’s very low,” he said. “But he has nothing to reproach himself for.
“We are in the position we are in as a team because of his leadership, because of his goals over a long period of time. Tonight the result is the result of 100 minutes of football.
England responded brilliantly after falling behind on Tchouaméni’s opening goal. They evolved under Southgate, who took them to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and the Euro 2020 final.
Southgate has made it clear he is proud of his team despite their latest disappointment. “They showed the balls to face a great team,” he said. “Of course we weren’t perfect and there were mistakes on both sides that decided the game. But I think we showed that the state of English football is healthy. We have some very good players. Not just for now, but for the future.”