Gareth Southgate insists he is right person to lead England to World Cup in Qatar | Football News


Under-fire Gareth Southgate remains convinced he is the right person to lead England into the World Cup and is confident that the team will click in Qatar.

Having reached the semi-finals in Russia four years ago and finished runners-up at last summer’s European Championship, England are among the favourites to lift the trophy this winter.

But things have gone awry at just the wrong time for England, who suffered the ignominy of relegation from the Nations League top tier with a game to spare following Friday’s 1-0 loss in Italy.

Southgate was booed by some of the travelling support at San Siro after a fifth winless match, which ratchets up pressure and scrutiny with the World Cup opener against Iran looming large on November 21.

“Look, I think that’s currently where it is and I have to accept that,” he said of the negative vibe as Qatar approaches.

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Rob Dorsett looks back at England’s defeat to Italy and form heading into the World Cup

“I think I’m the right person to take the team into the tournament. I think it’s more stable that way, without a doubt.

“I don’t think (the) performance (against Italy) was far off and I know that’s going to get derision just because we’re on the back of a run of defeats.

“But I’ve got to separate the summer and the circumstances around the summer from (this match).”

Asked if he remains confident that England will click when the finals come around, Southgate said: “Yeah, without a doubt.

“We’re playing and have been playing some top-level sides and we will be better for that. And the younger players, in particular, that have been in these games will have learned a lot from them.

“In the past we’ve had runs of friendlies or whatever the matches are and then we’ve gone into tournaments and that’s the first time we’ve hit high-level opposition and it’s hit us in the face quite often.

“Now we know the level, now we know what we’ve got to improve and we’ll be better placed for that by having had the quality of matches that we’ve had.”

Kane: We’re not panicking

Harry Kane in training for England
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Harry Kane is targeting a positive result aginst Germany to get England back on track

Harry Kane has told England supporters there is no need to panic over a slump in results ahead of the World Cup.

Despite the worrying nature of the recent decline, Kane believes the team can still come good when the World Cup kicks off in Qatar in November.

Asked if the important message to supporters was not to panic, the England captain replied: “I think so. We’re not panicking. We know we want to improve.

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Italy manager Roberto Mancini has backed England to do well in the World Cup, despite their current poor form

“Of course I understand the frustration of the fans. I was an England fan and still am an England fan whether I’m playing or not.

“If we have a successful tournament I’m not sure people will be worried about the spell we had over the summer, and that’s the bottom line.

“We need to improve, we know that. The fans are always great and stick with us. I know they will be there on Monday (against Germany at Wembley) supporting us and everyone will be excited about the World Cup, regardless of what happens . Hopefully we can repay them with some good results.”

‘This is the most difficult spell of Southgate’s tenure’

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Rob Dorsett says that while Gareth Southgate is under pressure in his role as England manager, there is no expectation that his job would be in danger ahead of the World Cup

Sky Sports News senior reporter Rob Dorsett:

“This is the most difficult spell by a distance that Southgate has had to endure in his six years as England manager.

“It is a difficult time, and he is under pressure. “England have gone five games without a win. They have lost two on the trot, and frankly, they are bereft of any confidence right now.

“That said, the pressure doesn’t apply in terms of Southgate potentially losing his job before the World Cup. That is just not going to happen. That would be ludicrous of the FA to do that was the way it was described to me because the level of insecurity and instability that would create going into a major tournament is just not on the agenda at all.

“However, it feels like this next game is a big one for England. Southgate was adamant he was still the right man to take England to the World Cup. He insists he saw a lot of improvements in that performance against Italy when quite frankly a lot of us watching didn’t.

“Southgate said he didn’t think the performance against Italy was far off, and he knew he was going to get criticism for saying that and there have been question marks again over his tactical decisions. Against Italy, Southgate only reacted to Italy going more direct after the goal and quite frankly, it was a pretty straight forward long ball over the top.

“But Southgate cannot legislate for top Premier League defenders for not defending simple balls like the one for Italy’s goal.

“It’s not just Southgate, there is a malaise about this England side as a whole at the moment and too many of the key players are out of form or not playing enough football for their clubs, which is a real problem for Southgate. There are still a huge number of question marks to address for the manager.”

What’s next?

England host Germany at Wembley on Monday at 7.45pm in their final Nations League game of their Group A3 campaign. It will also be the Three Lions’ last competitive match before this winter’s World Cup.

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