GARETH SOUTHGATE is confident he can lead England out of the rut that has resulted in their relegation from the top tier of the Nations League – and guide his side to a successful World Cup in Qatar.
England complete what has turned out to be a miserable Nations League campaign when they host Germany in a dead rubber at Wembley tomorrow evening.
The game marks the national side’s final outing before their World Cup opener against Iran in just under two months’ time, but if Southgate is looking for an upbeat send off from the home support, he is likely to end the night disappointed.
Having been jeered by the home support when England crashed to a 4-0 defeat to Hungary at Molineux in the summer, Southgate was booed by the travelling fans in the wake of Friday’s 1-0 loss to Italy at the San Siro.
There is no chance of the former Middlesbrough manager losing his job ahead of this winter’s World Cup, but while the backing of his bosses will be welcome, Southgate accepts he finds himself having to come through an extremely difficult spell.
“You are not going to have six years as we’ve had without a spell where you are going to have some tough results,” said the England boss. “You’ve got to show resilience to come through those moments.
“I’m not the first coach to go through a difficult time in terms of results and criticism. This is part of the territory – for me, it’s a great challenge to lead the team through a moment like this.”
England have failed to score a single goal from open play during their first five Nations League matches, and Southgate understands why the criticism aimed in his direction has become increasingly hard to ignore in the last few months.
“The results haven’t been at the level we want or require,” he said. “So, no matter what job you have in football, that would be the case. Of course, with the national team, that noise is going to be louder and more widespread, I understand that.”