Gareth Southgate has signed a contract extension which will see him continue as England manager until December 2024.
Southgate replaced Sam Allardyce in late 2016 and has gone on to guide England to the semi-finals of 2018 FIFA World Cup and Final of this summer’s Euro 2020 and qualification for 2022 FIFA World Cup, with the Three Lions winning 44 of 68 matches under the ex Middlesbrough boss.
Assistant manager, Steve Holland has also signed a new contract and Southgate is “delighted” that both he and Holland will remain in charge of the Three Lions, which he described as “an incredible privilege” as he thanked players, coaches and the FA Board for their continued support,
Southgate also iterated that he and the squad have opportunities to push for further success and end England’s major trophy hoodoo, as he said: “We have a great opportunity in front of us and I know they and the fans are all excited about what this squad could achieve in future.”
He went on to add that he believes that the current generation “can improve and are continuing to want to improve” with the aim of creating “sustained success.”
Southgate proceeded to point to Germany, Italy and France as “top nations” which experienced “the odd fallow period”, yet are able to contend for major trophies and iterated that he wants England to become one of those teams.
One issue awaiting Southgate in the immediate future though is that players like Jordan Pickford, Conor Coady and Harry Kane will be hitting their peak and beginning to decline in quality in the next few seasons with the Three Lions manager keen to ensure his team “constantly evolves” in talent.
Having reached World Cup and Nations League semi-finals on top of Euros heartbreak in the Final in recent years, Southgate believes that his squad “can generally challenge” now compared to when he took charge in late 2016 when they entered tournaments only “with hope” in recent decades.
Southgate added that the team’s main challenge now is to match expectations of fans but is relishing that task, as he commented: “We know expectation is higher but that is good because the team are better than we were three years ago and we have to keep continuing that improvement.”
FA Chief Executive Officer, Mark Bullingham was full of praise for Southgate and Holland as he commented on the news, saying: “They’ve done a fantastic job, with many great moments. By extending their contracts, we’re hoping for many more special moments.”
Bullingham added that the decision to extend Southgate’s contract will send “a clear message to our players and the support team that we have a plan, a stable management team and we can build for success.
On what he and the FA expects of Southgate, Bullingham said that the simple aim is to achieve “many more special moments and the best chance to fulfil our ambition of winning a major international tournament.”
Bullingham though acknowledged that winning a major tournament “is one of the most difficult achievements in sport so to maximise our chances, we want the best leadership team to prepare and guide our players.”
This deal will see Southgate in charge of 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar alongside 2022-23 UEFA Nations League and Euro 2024.