England boss Gareth Southgate admits desire to ‘prove people wrong’ with eventual return to club management

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England boss Gareth Southgate admits desire to ‘prove people wrong’ with eventual return to club management
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Gareth Southgate still feels a desire to “prove people wrong” by succeeding as a club manager, despite his record with England.

Southgate agreed a two-year contract extension as England boss on Monday, tying him to the national team until after Euro 2024.

The 51-year-old led England to the World Cup semi-final in 2018 and the final of Euro 2020 in July, but the perception of his record in the club game remains a sore point.

Southgate’s three-year stint in charge of Middlesbrough ended after their relegation from the Premier League in 2008/09 and he subsequently left the club game, joining the FA as head of elite performance in 2011.

Speaking after the announcement of his new deal, Southgate said he is sure he will return to prove himself in the club game after the England job.

“There is the obvious challenge because people view my club management purely through the eyes of a relegation, there is the obvious part of you that wants to prove people wrong,” Southgate said.

“There will be a day when I do that, I’m sure. If in three years I decided that was it, I [would be] 53, with the experience of managing in one of the most pressurised jobs in football, with the biggest games in world football behind you.

“If that was the decision at that point, then I would have a lot of excellent experiences behind me. But I have no idea what I will feel in three years’ time. And I don’t feel an urgency to push to other things.

“What I felt very strongly is why go when we know the [England] team is still improving? What I saw in the players' reaction in the autumn to their disappointment in the summer was very positive and with some of the young ones coming through there was still that competition and the impetus to take us forwards.”

Southgate admitted there are elements of being a club manager he would “love to have” but insisted the roles both have their advantages and challenges.

“There are things within club management that as an international manager you would love to have [like] the opportunity to affect and influence players every day,” he said.

“We have to get our ideas across in a very short period of time, so every session is crucial.

“You do have more control over the players’ lives as a club manager because day in day out you are influencing and speaking to them. You are more across their physical performance. You are more across being able to build tactically every day.

“But at a club there is a game every three days and you have to prepare and at the biggest clubs of course the consequences of those results are huge in terms of the fall out every time they play. So with England that’s different. I don’t see one as being easier or harder.”

FA chief executive Mark Bellingham has revealed that Southgate’s contract is “performance related [and] any rises or increases in bonuses are self-funded by either increases in commercial revenue or tournament prize money”.

I am very conscious that we fund grassroots football.

Gareth Southgate

Last year, the FA made 124 jobs redundant amid pandemic-related losses of around £300million and Southgate says he wants to offer the organisation value for money.

“I have always wanted through my life to be fairly rewarded but to deliver value for money for the organisation I work for,” said Southgate, whose previous contract was thought to be worth in the region of £3m a year.

“Within the FA I am very conscious of what we have been through as an organisation. I am very conscious that we fund grassroots football and so whatever we have earned over the period of time it would have been right to have to prove ourselves.

“Now we have Wembley full more regularly and the prize money for reaching the latter stages of tournaments, we want to make sure that when we are sitting listening to our chief financial officer telling us where we are that we have more than played our part in keeping the business side in the right place.

"That is a consequence of performances and results and bringing enjoyment to the country as well. In an ideal world you want, as a manager who cares about English football and about the organisation, to be able to fulfil all those things really.”

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