Gareth Southgate careful to mediate excitement after England team announcement

Southgate will remain focused on making England a consistent side at international level rather than an immediately successful one

Mark Critchley
Thursday 04 October 2018 21:19
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Gareth Southgate will remain focused on making England a consistent side at international level rather than an immediately successful one, despite Martin Glenn’s belief that the national team will win a World Cup in the “not too distant future”.

Southgate has been rewarded for reaching England’s first World Cup semi-final in 28 years, signing a new four-year contract on Thursday that will extend his spell to the end of the 2022 tournament in Qatar.

Glenn, the FA’s chief executive, hailed Southgate’s work since his appointment in 2016 and boldly stated his belief that England would win both the World Cup and the European Championship in time.

Southgate did not go that far when Glenn’s comments were put to him, noting that England were the width of a post away from a likely round of 16 elimination in Russia this summer.

“International football is such fine margins and it’s the FA Cup of international football, going to a World Cup or a European Championship,” Southgate said on Thursday. “Your reputation, judgement and assessment can be on a five minute period in a game or one major incident in a game.

“So, important not to be distracted by that too much and important to recognise to win an international tournament is that much more difficult.

“We know the last four in the World Cup were all going to the European Championships, that’s with Spain and German and Italy and Holland to come back. So a massive task for us.”

Southgate agrees with Glenn’s central argument, though, that England have to consistently compete in the latter stages of major international tournaments in order to give themselves the best possible chance of success.

Glenn was bullish about England's prospects

“Martin’s point was right,” Southgate said. “What we set about with the junior teams was we want to be in and around semi-finals all the time where you’re in the matches that give you a chance to have success and consistency and consistently high performance is what we’ve got aim for and I think all sports teams have to gear towards that.

“Then you learn how to win those really big games because you’re in there all the time and experiencing those moments of pressure. That’s what we want our players to have.”

Glenn had earlier bullishly claimed that England would win a World Cup and a Euros again, though stopped of demanding success in either 2020 or 2022 and stressed the importance of “progress” over results.

“We have great ambition,” the FA chief executive said. “We will win a World Cup, we are going to win a Euros. You can’t ever say when because it’s so competitive, but we are going to give ourselves the best possible chance with the players we’ve got.

“What we all want to see is progress. We can feel progress. The public can see it with the style of play, and the way that [World Cup] squad of 23 players behaved themselves and were an absolute credit to the country. There’s progress on and off the pitch.

“Look, you can’t guarantee you are going to win a tournament. Every team turns up to try and win it. But I believe we will win a World Cup at some point in the not too distant future.

“But for sure we are going to turn up for major tournaments, whether it be the Euros in 2020 or the World Cup in 2022, as more consistent challengers, and the expectation should be that we should get to the latter stages.

“That consistency is what we need now and that’s why I’m delighted Gareth and Steve have signed up for another four years.”

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