Gareth Southgate hints he will lead England at 2022 World Cup

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By Associated Press

LONDON: England manager Gareth Southgate hinted on Monday that he wants to continue in charge of the national team in the 2022 World Cup, despite their penalty shootout heartache against Italy in the final of Euro 2020.

Southgate said it wasn’t “an appropriate time to think about anything” but added that “as I sit here today, I would want to take the team to Qatar”.

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“I don’t think now is an appropriate time to think about anything. We’ve got of course, to qualify for Qatar but I need some time to go away, watch last night’s game again, reflect on the whole tournament, I need a rest.

“It’s an amazing experience but to lead your country in these tournaments takes its toll and I need a break now,” Southgate said.

Southgate has led England to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and Nations League a year later, plus the final of the Euro 2020.

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“I don’t want to commit to anything longer than I should and I never want to outstay my welcome. So all of those things need consideration before I even think about sitting down and talking, But as I sit here today, I would want to be taking the team to Qatar.

“I feel that we have made progress over the four years (since he took over full-time), we’ve had a fourth place, a third place and a second place.

“It’s probably as good as any other team in Europe bar those that have won the tournaments themselves, for consistency it’s right up there.”

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Southgate also said that the racist social media abuse of the players who missed penalties in the final was “unforgivable”.

Abusive messages have been aimed at Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka who missed England’s last three penalties in the shoot-out which gave Italy victory at Wembley on Sunday.

Southgate said that his team “have been a beacon of light in bringing people together” during the tournament in which England reached a first major final in 55 years.

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On the racist abuse on social media aimed at Rashford, Sancho and Saka, the manager said, “The players have had an incredible togetherness and spirit which I think has brought so many parts of our country together. So they should be – and I think they are – incredibly proud of what they’ve done.

“For some of them to be abused is unforgivable really. I know a lot of that has come from abroad, people who track those things have been able to explain that. But not all of it and it’s just not what we stand for.

“We, I think, have been a beacon of light in bringing people together, in people being able to relate to the national team and the national team stands for everybody.

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“So that togetherness has to continue and we’ve shown the power our country has when it does come together and has that energy and positivity together.”

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