Southgate issues response to Manchester United speculation

Date published: Monday 21st January 2019 9:04

Gareth Southgate has been linked to the Manchester United job, but is loving life as England manager and believes the best is yet come.

The 48-year-old oversaw a remarkable 2018 at the Three Lions helm, with his side reaching the World Cup semi-finals before qualifying for the inaugural Nations League finals this summer.

Southgate’s work on and off the field led the Football Writers’ Association to honour the England manager at its tribute evening at the Savoy on Sunday.

The manager has also attracted plenty of plaudits and admiring glances, with the former defender reportedly under consideration to be a permanent replacement for Jose Mourinho as United boss in the summer.

Asked in the wake of such stories whether he feels totally professionally fulfilled by the England job, Southgate told Sky Sports: “I’m the England manager and it’s a privileged position to be in.

“We’ve had the best year for 28 years and we’ve got a semi-final this summer and a European Championship that’s predominantly at Wembley, providing we take care of business to qualify.

“So, it’s a hugely exciting time with the team. I don’t think we’ve progressed as far as we can yet. I think there’s room for us to grow.

“So, I think there’s a lot of importance in life about enjoying what you’re doing, and I am still a young coach.

“I’ve managed less than 200 matches, so, for me, it’s an honour to be in the role I’m in and I thoroughly enjoy it.”

Southgate’s first big interview of 2019 came ahead of the FWA’s evening celebrating England’s squad and staff as a whole in central London.

“I’m conscious I’ve received lots of credit over the last couple of months in particular, but as a manager you’re entirely in the hands of your team – both the players and the support team,” the Three Lions boss said.

“I am fortunate to work with really good people in both of those groups – very talented, good characters.

“Also, when you’re having tributes, you’re thinking, ‘Well, the job is not done for us yet, there’s a lot for us to go for and a lot of improvement for us to make’.

“It’s really nice to be recognised and equally it shouldn’t just be about me. That’s for sure.”

 

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