Southgate to get new England contract ‘regardless’

Will Ford
Mount F365
Southgate England

Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham would like England manager Gareth Southgate to extend his stay beyond next year’s World Cup, regardless of what happens against Germany.

Having reached the World Cup semi-finals three years ago and finished third in the inaugural Nations League in 2019, the Three Lions have the chance to make this a summer to remember at the rearranged Euros.

England are currently preparing to face Germany in front of more than 40,000 people in Tuesday’s eagerly-anticipated European Championship last-16 tie at Wembley.

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Southgate’s side did not capture the imagination despite reaching the knockout phase as Group D winners, but Bullingham is delighted with the overall job being done by the manager.

“Am I enjoying the football? Yes, I am,” he said. “Gareth has done a brilliant job, finishing top of the group, really solid defence, and he’s done really well on and off the pitch, in every aspect.

“Our support is unwavering. 100 per cent unwavering. Unwavering support. We are 100 per cent behind Gareth. He knows how we feel about him.

“We feel he is brilliant, both on and off the pitch. We want him to carry on. He’s doing a great job. Regardless of Tuesday. Absolutely.

“Regardless of the group stage of the tournament we would have wanted him to carry on, not just in (this) tournament but if you look at Nations League as well, he did brilliantly in that.

“I remember the Spain game (the 3-2 Nations League win in October 2018) – absolutely great performances.”

Southgate was given the England role after Roy Hodgson’s successor Sam Allardyce made a swift exit in 2016, with the Under-21s boss doing enough in temporary control to earn a four-year deal.

The former defender signed a new contract in October 2018 to take him through to next year’s World Cup in Qatar and Bullingham would like him to stay beyond that.

“Gareth knows exactly how we feel about him,” he said. “He knows that we think he’s doing a great job and we’d like him to carry on.

“We would love him to carry on, for sure, beyond this contract.”

Bullingham said they would “get into that formal conversation after this tournament” but believes Southgate “could do anything in club world or FA world” given his skillset.

But he has not asked the 50-year-old what he wants to do at a time when everyone’s focus is making it the Euro 2020 finale at Wembley on July 11.

It was confirmed earlier this week that than 60,000 will attend the semi-finals and final under the arch after talks with UEFA about potentially moving the final away from London.

“It was definitely a real possibility of being moved,” Bullingham said. “The Government were fantastic, working really close with them and UEFA we got to a really good position.

“It has had to come and had to balance public health all the way through that but we came to a sensible decision.”

Bullingham says the group matches at Wembley have gone well so far and hopes it can provide the platform to a return of supporters in large number next season.

“We are really looking forward towards that,” he added. “We always said that we wanted the Euros to provide the platform for next season.

“We are hoping we can do it really safely and all the evidence so far from the research programme (suggests) that we are not causing any significant outbreaks for anything.

“The first three (games had) 58,000 people (and) only 15 positive tests. That’s really positive. We know it is an outdoor environment.

“We know everyone is facing the same way, those are important factors. Providing we can put the infrastructure around, have transportation worked out, we are confident we can offer a safe environment.”