England players don’t care if I sign a new contract or not, says Gareth Southgate

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 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

Gareth Southgate claims England’s players do not care if he stays or goes.

The FA are desperate to tie down his long-term future after reaching the World Cup semi-final and Euro 2020 Final in his first two major tournaments.

But Southgate raised doubts over his position following the penalty shootout defeat by Italy in the summer and has given no further indication of his plans.

His deal runs until the Qatar World Cup next year, which England are well on course to qualify for.

On Tuesday he brushed away questions about his contract and insisted uncertainty over his future will have no effect on the players who have created such a strong bond under him.

“I wouldn’t think they could care less!” he said. “They aren’t bothered who the manager is at club or country. One comes; one goes. The next one and they get on with it.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“So, no, it’s not a distraction in any way shape or form. I’ve got 14 months and if you can get through 14 weeks as a manager you have done well so it really isn’t an issue.

“I enjoy working with the team and I would imagine that we won’t even discuss that until after the autumn now.”

Southgate’s primary focus is to qualify for Qatar next year and try to go one better than the Euros.

Victory against Poland on Wednesday night will extend England’s perfect start in Group I.

Southgate added: “Without doubt there’s that confidence in the team, which can only come from the evidence of being able to achieve results and performances that have led to those results.

“We saw that in Hungary, the way they approached the game, the belief, but also that bit of additional motivation from not having quite got to where we wanted to as well. That’s a good position for us to be in.

“But that has to be worked at every day. Any slipping of those standards, any suggestion we can win matches by taking our foot off the gas, then we’ll be in trouble. The level of competition is too high.

“The test of any match gives you different problems to solve during the evening. While it’s enjoyable to be with this team at the moment because of the things you’ve mentioned, that also can be a dangerous moment, if we allow standards to slip in any way.”

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