Southgate will 'not outstay welcome' as he again defends England selection

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Gareth Southgate says he "will not outstay" his welcome as England manager as he once again hit back at criticism over his team selections.

England reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2018, the final four of the Nations League in 2019 and were runners-up at last year's Euro 2020.

Yet despite that, there have been continued calls for Southgate to adopt a more attacking approach by fielding the likes of Jack Grealish and Trent Alexander-Arnold more often.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's Nations League clash with Italy at a behind-closed-doors Molineux, however, Southgate refuted the idea that he is not gung-ho enough.

"I've got to find a balance because I don't want to sit and be defensive, but some people have managed teams and others haven't," he said.

"Until you've managed teams, you have a different view of the game.

"What's needed to win football matches are the sorts of things [Mason] Mount did on [Joshua] Kimmich that allows other things to happen.

"For the man that comes and stands on the terrace and pays his money, I totally understand he wants to see a Grealish with a [Raheem] Sterling with a [Bukayo] Saka.

"But you've got to have a balance of the team, this is top-level football."

England have won just one of their past five games in the Nations League
England have won just one of their past five games in the Nations League

Southgate was appointed permanent England boss in November 2016 and signed a new deal seven months ago that runs through until the end of 2024.

"I've got to manage in the way I see fit. I won't outstay my welcome but I think I can do a good job for the team, and I think we've done a good job for the team," he added.

"I think we'll continue to improve the team, which we've done over a consistent period of time, and we're also developing young players that will leave England in a good place."

England followed up a 1-0 loss to Hungary with a 1-1 draw away at Germany in their opening two Nations League matches.

Only once before, between July and September 2018, have the Three Lions failed to win three in a row under Southgate.

Asked why he felt the need to bring up his future, Southgate said: "If you look back, I've always said it.

"I am not going to be here forever, am I? There will be another England manager… that's how I have always felt about it.

"The major part of that is how the players are. Do I still feel the players give everything and respond to what we do? Yes, I do."

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