Gareth Southgate is being rewarded for leading England into the 2015 European Under-21 Championship finals with a new contract.
Dan Ashworth, the Football Association’s director of elite development, was in Croatia to witness a consummately professional performance from Southgate’s side as they clinched their place in the finals to be held in the Czech Republic next June with a 10th consecutive win.
Southgate took charge 14 months ago after Stuart Pearce’s largely successful six-year reign ended in ignominy at the last Euros as they lost all three games in Israel.
The former Middlesbrough manager initially signed a three-year contract to 2016, as Uefa had indicated that the Under-21 tournaments would revert to even years, but that plan has been changed to stick with odd years, so Ashworth would like Southgate to commit to Poland 2017.
“We have briefly touched on it with Dan but it is not an issue for us at all,” said Southgate, whose role includes overseeing the Under-16s to Under-20s, after the 2-1 victory here completed a 4-2 aggregate win. “The key for all of us was to get qualified. This role is probably 40 per cent of my time. To see every age group having success is pleasing.
“I am still of the belief that we [Under-21s] have learned so much over the year. We have put so many good things in place that I wouldn’t have viewed not getting through as failure. I would have been able to rationalise that.
“But we needed the next challenge for these players. They need to go and play these top teams in the months leading up to it and in the summer. It is development, getting confidence from going to tournaments and being in big games.”
England will play Portugal and France in friendlies next month. The tournament will feature Czech Republic, Portugal, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Serbia and Sweden.Reuse content