Southgate refuses to contemplate resignation

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The Independent Football

Gareth Southgate, sounding ever more defiant by the day, has said that it would have been "scandalous" if he had offered his resignation at any time during Middlesbrough's last six months of steady decline.

"If you give up once in your life, you'll do it for ever," Southgate said. "I've got two children and I think if I ever quit on anything that would be a really poor example to set them. And it's the same with my players. I think if they saw me quit as manager it would be a scandalous example to set them."

One week after Middlesbrough beat Hull City in a vital relegation battle, Fulham are the visitors to the Riverside this afternoon, a match in which the hosts' Australian goalkeeper Brad Jones will play despite dislocating his finger last week. It is another game Boro must win, but even if ultimately they fail to dig themselves out of the bottom three by next month, Southgate has said that he intends to be at the Riverside next season.

"I've got the support of the entire football club from what I can see," Southgate said. "They've been an unbelievable help to me and given me fantastic backing. There's no way I would walk out on them. If it goes wrong I'm here to carry the can, I won't shy away from it. Then I'll come out fighting again. If it goes right, we'll celebrate together.

"If I walked out on the job, I'm not quite sure how I could have that conversation with my family. It's not the side about being out of the work, but the side that you gave up on something. For me as an individual that would be one of the biggest sins there can be."

At a time when his suitability for the job has been called into question, Southgate claims to be now more certain than ever that it is what he wants to do. "When I started off, I wanted to have a go at it but was it what I wanted to do long term?" Southgate said.

"I suppose it's only when people really question your abilities and really question whether you are capable of doing something that it puts a lot of things into perspective and clears a lot of things in your mind. I know what I want to go and do and I know where I want to take this club. It's been a difficult period but you are certainly more determined when you have been through a period like we have had.

"Over the last few weeks, I am even more certain in my mind that it's what I want to do. If you can come through a difficult period like that and feel that way then, in my own mind, it has answered a few of questions I might have had maybe a couple of years ago," he added.

That personal determination is more impressive than Southgate's offensive and repeated remark likening resignation from a job to "suicide".