Gareth Southgate adamant new contract won’t disrupt England quest for World Cup glory

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Gareth Southgate adamant new contract won’t disrupt England quest for World Cup glory
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Gareth Southgate insists he will not lose his focus as he closes in on a new England contract.

The Three Lions boss is set to finalise an extension on his current deal that is not due to expire until after next year’s World Cup in Qatar. It will see him earn a significant rise on his current salary of around £3million per year.

But Southgate, whose side need a point against San Marino tonight to confirm qualification, is adamant that securing his future before that tournament will not damage their chances of success.

The FA paid the price for handing Fabio Capello a new deal before the 2010 World Cup, with England enduring a disastrous campaign in South Africa.

Southgate’s new contract is set to run until 2024, and after leading England to the semi-final of Russia 2018 and the final of this summer’s Euros, he is convinced they are still in the ascendancy under his guidance.

He said: “You would never have a contract if you didn’t judge somebody before a tournament, so I think on the back of two tournaments and progress made that’s a more acceptable sort of conversation to be having.

“I think we have tried to do it professionally by focusing on the summer, professionally by focusing on qualification and then we will see where it leads after that.”

The FA have long made it clear that Southgate is the only man they want to lead the nation, insisting a new deal would be on offer no matter how he performed at the Euros.

Southgate raised the biggest questions over whether he would stay after revealing his interest in returning to club football – and admitting he needed a rest after such an exhausting summer.

But he believes his young squad are still to peak after an unforgettable year, which saw England come within a penalty kick of winning their first trophy since 1966.

“We have responded well to every hurdle that has been thrown at us across a calendar year in which we have had total contrast in terms of the quality of opponent we have played,” he said. “The mentality has been good. That is why in 90 minutes and extra time, we haven’t been beaten.

“That is a record we want to keep building on. We have got the best defensive record in Europe, in terms of goals to games. We are fourth in terms of goals scored and chances created. It is a good challenge to try to improve on it [against San Marino].”

Southgate revealed that Harry Kane is desperate to start tonight after moving to within nine goals of Wayne Rooney’s all-time England record of 53.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The England captain did not start either of the games against Andorra and was an unused substitute against San Marino at Wembley. But after his hat-trick against Albania on Friday, he has pleaded with his manager for a starting role.

Southgate admitted: “He's quick to let me know that he hasn't played in those games.

“We want to make sure that the team we start with tomorrow is a statement that we're here to do business, that we're taking this very seriously, we're not qualified yet.

“For sure he is keen to play. He wants to play. We have got to make sure we get this game won and we still have to try to qualify for the World Cup.”

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