Pochettino 'open' to managing England in the future

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Mauricio Pochettino has hinted he would be "open" to succeeding Gareth Southgate as England manager if he were to leave the role after the World Cup.

Southgate led England to the World Cup semi-finals in 2018 before overseeing a run to the Euro 2020 final last year, with his side ultimately losing to Italy in a dramatic penalty shoot-out at Wembley Stadium.

However, Southgate has faced severe scrutiny following England's dismal Nations League campaign earlier this year, and he was jeered by his own supporters after a defeat in Italy in September.

During his time with Tottenham, Pochettino was credited with playing a key role in the development of several England internationals, including captain Harry Kane and defender Eric Dier.

The Argentine has also spent the majority of his coaching career in England, enjoying almost nine years at Southampton and Spurs combined, and he has refused to rule out leading the Three Lions.

"Of course, my relationship with England has always been very good," Pochettino told the Athletic.

"We have a very good relationship with the academies, trying to develop young players for the national team. I feel so comfortable here. You never know what happens. I am open to everything."

Asked about England's qualities ahead of the World Cup, he added: "Their mentality, they are so brave, they are so offensive, they go to provoke the opponent and try to dominate.

"They don't care about the team that is in front of them. They try to deliver their job. I like how they approach the game, and they have very good players."

England begin their Group B campaign against Iran on Monday. The Three Lions have won their opening match at six different World Cups, though their last two such victories have come by a single goal (2006 v Paraguay and 2018 v Tunisia).