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Will Southgate Stay If England Win the Euros?

Amid the uncertainty surrounding Gareth Southgate’s future as England boss, we look at whether he’ll stay if the Three Lions win the Euro’s.


England’s head coach’s announcement that he will step down as the national coach of the side after the Euro 2024 campaign has sparked various opinions in the footballing world, with the majority believing that there is no better person for the job.

When the Gareth Southgate interview from L’Équipe bounced back to England on 14 May, it prompted a few phone calls between newspaper desks and their reporters.

The England manager, preparing for Euro 2024 and under contract with the Football Association until December, had been asked the obligatory, inevitable question. Would this summer be his last shot at tournament glory with the team?

Was there anything new in it? This was a question that most of the fans who already had tickets from a secondary market hoped would be good news.

Southgate’s Situation

The first thing to say was that even though it was most assuredly Southgate – speaking at the FA’s international media day – it did not sound entirely like him. “If we don’t win, there is a good chance that I won’t stay in office.”

It was just the turn of phrase. Then again, here we had an Englishman speaking in English, being translated into French and back again into English.

The original’s specific details are always going to be blurred slightly, and it was easy to recall Arsène Wenger’s lament about how his words would often “rebound” with greater force from across the Channel.

Southgate added, “As I have been here for eight years,” Southgate continued, “the end is approaching for me.”

Southgate’s L’Équipe sit-down had an arresting quality, and yet when it was pulled apart, the sense was consistent with what he has said for the past year or so. It was a variation only in semantic terms.

Southgate would never veer off script, incredibly far from the tournament. For him, it is win or bust in Germany—or very much in this territory.

The manager’s line is underpinned by characteristic humility. Southgate knows he must deliver if there is a climate for him to continue in the job for the 2026 World Cup.

He remembers the reaction when one of his predecessors, Fabio Capello, signed a new contract before the 2010 World Cup, which would end in disaster for England.

By delivering, Southgate means winning or certainly that is how he has framed it for the players; he does not want the notion of glorious failure to be in their minds. They should not be scared to say they are in it to win it. And by a climate for him to continue, he essentially means the feeling in the country among the fanbase.

Southgate considered stepping down after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, having been spooked by the venomous reaction to his team’s 4-0 defeat by Hungary at Molineux in June. He discussed with his assistant, Steve Holland, whether to announce the intention before the tournament; he did not want any negativity towards him to affect the players.

One key to Southgate’s staying on was the general positivity among supporters after France’s narrow quarter-final defeat, which he probably felt through the media. It was an entertaining World Cup for the fans with tickets from a secondary market, but England did not end up as the better team on the day.

It was significant that the Sun splashed its front page with a story about how the fans and players were “begging” him to continue.

Southgate has always been bothered by what people think. He is a reader of the room, which will again be a factor after the tournament in Germany. He will likely be the single biggest one because he can count on the FA’s support.

He’s also been a vivid appreciator of the fans who buy tickets from officials and a secondary market and has always given space for them.

Only a group-stage meltdown would change the picture for his employers, and even then, it would most likely be Southgate jumping before they felt compelled to give him the push.

The succession question is a nightmare for the FA, not only because of the dearth of English candidates but also because the best one, Eddie Howe, is settled at Newcastle. Could Graham Potter enter the equation?

It is because the FA values Southgate’s work enormously—his runs to the business end in three tournaments (semi-final, final, quarter-final), the environment he has created for the players, and his successful tackling of the age-old problem of the shirt’s weight.

It is sometimes said that a manager can only have 11 happy players, and the rest are left to grumble. Southgate’s ratio is far more favourable, and the respect he commands in the dressing room is almost total.

It is harder to gauge where he stands with the fans because you can look for any opinion and find it in such a vast and diverse group. That said, it is not difficult to hear the one about how Southgate must win now after the previous near-misses and because of the attacking talent available to him. Anything less would be a failure, and he would deserve incarceration in the Tower of London.

Would Southgate want to continue if he and his team won the Euros?

The likelihood is yes. He does want to manage a big club, but one thing is plain: he would not get to work with Harry Kane, Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden, and Bukayo Saka in his next job. Then there is the allure of the World Cup in two years—just that it is the World Cup.

The more interesting question is what Southgate would do in the event of another quarter- or semi-final exit. Would the external narrative be sufficiently adverse as to see him fall on his sword?

If England were to lose against a less-fancied opponent (i.e., not France), the 53-year-old may conclude that it would be time to quit and wait for a club-level opening.

The Future?

The FA’s decision to agree a contract with Southgate until December looks increasingly smart. The idea was to provide a cooling-off period after the Euros to smooth any handover where Southgate left and ensure that any doubt over the manager’s position did not dominate the conversation around the tournament and become a distraction.

What has transpired, too, is that Southgate has yet to ride the managerial merry-go-round. He has been of serious interest to Manchester United—his publicly stated refusal to enter into discussions with any suitor. At the same time, he is contracted to the FA – or at least until after the Euros – and has ruled out the possibility of him lining up a club move pre-tournament.

Nobody would have been able to understand that; there would just have been too much potential for conflict. The Julen Lopetegui affair with Spain before the 2018 World Cup is a cautionary tale. After it was announced he was to become the new Real Madrid manager after the finals, Spain sacked him. Southgate’s focus is clear, even if his future is not.

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