Southgate says boo-boys almost made him quit, but team is improving and he is ‘hungry’

January 27 – England manager Gareth Southgate contemplated before the World Cup in Qatar announcing he would resign after it because of criticism in the build-up to the tournament.

England were booed after losing 4-0 at home to Hungary in the Nations League in June, one of several poor results leading into the winter World Cup.

Southgate then considered announcing the World Cup would be his last tournament in order to get more support behind the team.

England were eventually knocked out of the tournament by France in the quarter-finals, 18 months after losing the Euro 2020 final to Italy on penalties at Wembley.

“I never want to be in a position where my presence is affecting the team in a negative way,” Southgate, who also led England to the 2018 World Cup semi-final in Russia, told the BBC.  “The last thing you want as a coach is for your presence to be divisive and inhibit performance.”

Explaining for the first time how he reached the decision to stay in his job, he added: “I just wanted a period after the World Cup to reflect and make sure that was still how it felt.  I wanted to make sure I’m still fresh and hungry for that challenge.”

“Getting knocked out in the quarter-finals was very tough, but the support of the players and the fans definitely lifts you up.”

In December, the English FA announced Southgate had signed a new contract through to the end of 2024. “The team keeps getting better. We are all gaining confidence in what we are doing,” Southgate said.

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