Gareth Southgate is a man in demand.
After guiding England to the 2018 World Cup semifinals this summer, Southgate’s current contract with the Three Lions runs through the end of the EURO 2020 tournament.
Speaking ahead of England’s friendly against Switzerland at Leicester City’s King Power Stadium on Tuesday, Southgate was asked if he’d like to remain England manager and lead them through the 2022 World Cup.
“At the moment we’ve had initial discussions. That has been it. For me, I’ve got to focus on the job in hand. I’m contracted for the next 22 months or so and my focus, most importantly, is for tomorrow night and for this team to keep improving,” Southgate said. “This summer was an incredible experience for everybody. Those are the games you want to be involved in and the matches that matter. Beyond that I don’t really want to get into any more detail because I don’t want to distract things from the game.”
Southgate’s situation isn’t one that England fans should be overly concerned about.
The former England international has spoken many times about his love for the Three Lions and being their head coach. But his stock has never been higher as a coach and the former Middlesbrough, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa defender will no doubt interest plenty of Premier League clubs when they have a managerial vacancy over the next 12 months.
Martin Glenn, the head of the English FA, has already acknowledged that they probably won’t be able to pay Southgate a salary close to what he could demand if he took charge of a PL club. Yet Southgate is a man who has been embedded into the masterplan to revive the English national teams from the very start and he seems keen to lead the men’s national team with so many promising youngster ready to break through from England’s U-17 and U-20 World Cup winning teams.
Add in the respect England’s young team have for him and the clear identity in a 3-4-3 formation he has brought to the team and Southgate has done all he can up until this point. For now, songs about loving Southgate and idolizing his waistcoast will continue, but over the next six months we will see if this England team can regain the form they showed over the summer as they aim to keep improving and be among the top contenders for the European Championships in two years’ time.
Getting Southgate locked down to a new deal is essential to making that a reality.