‘It’s hard’ – Gareth Southgate isn’t rushing to decide his future

Gareth Southgate will take time to reflect on his future as the England manager wants to make sure he has the energy to get going again and that the decision is right for the team.

Qatar’s winter quest for World Cup glory is over after Saturday’s quarter-final clash against defending champions France ended.

England captain Harry Kane’s second-half kick nullified Aurelien Tchouameni’s superb opener, equaling Wayne Rooney’s all-time record of 53 in the process.

Olivier Giroud put France back in front before Kane found the stands rather than the net with his second penalty of the night as an impressive display ended in an abysmal 2-1 defeat.

“However you come out of a tournament, it’s really, really tough,” said England boss Southgate.

“But I can only say that I’m proud of the players and how they handled it all. The whole group was exceptional. It’s everyone, including the staff, it’s such a tight-knit group.

“They showed that tonight they showed character, they showed the balls to play against a great team and to go along, to take the ball, to be brave in the way we try to defend as well.

“Of course not perfect and there were mistakes on both sides which decided the outcome of the game.

“But I think we have once again shown the rest of the world that English football is healthy, we have some very good players not only now but also for the future.”

Southgate wanted to congratulate France – who face Morocco in the semi-finals on Wednesday – rather than criticize referee Wilton Sampaio’s performance after what could prove his last game in charge.

The 52-year-old is under contract until after the European Championship in 2024 but has not committed to his future after losing to France.

“I think every time I finish these tournaments I need time to make the right decisions,” Southgate said.

“Emotionally you go through so many different feelings. The energy it takes through these tournaments is enormous.

“I want to make the right decision, whatever it is for the team, for England, for the FA. I have to be sure that the decision I take is the right one.

“I think it’s right to take the time to do that because I know in the past my feelings have fluctuated immediately after tournaments.”

Telling him he has the kind of talented players who could tempt him to stay, Southgate said: “No, of course not.

“We’ve always wanted to develop a group that can sustain the types of tournaments we’ve run. I think we continue to do so.

“It’s more, you know, the decisions around… going back there takes a lot of energy and you have to make sure you’re ready for that. There’s qualifying in March.

“Tonight, there are too many things in my head to think logically about all of this.

“I wanted to totally focus on this tournament and approach it the way we did. I think we’ve given a very good image of ourselves to the rest of the world.

“But, in the end, only one team wins and we wanted to win. Tonight, we just didn’t measure up.

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