'Criticism' made Gareth Southgate think about stepping down as England coach

England were eliminated by France in the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup

By Web Desk
January 27, 2023
Gareth Southgate called his position "the greatest privilege of my life" — Reuters 

England manager Gareth Southgate has said that the criticism received before the FIFA World Cup 2022 made him think about leaving his position.

18 months after losing the Euro 2020 final to Italy on penalties at Wembley, England were eliminated from the tournament by France in the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup.

In June, after losing to Hungary 4-0 at Molineux in the Nations League, the team was jeered off the field. This was only one of a string of dismal performances that led up to the winter World Cup.

"The last thing you want as a manager is that your presence is divisive and inhibits performance. I never want to be in a position where my presence is affecting the team in a negative way," he explained in an interview with BBC Sport.

"I didn't believe that was the case, but I just wanted a period after the World Cup to reflect and make sure that was still how it felt."

He called his position "the greatest privilege of my life" and claimed that due of the "quality of performances and the progress that we're making," staying was ultimately "not difficult."

"The team are still improving. We're all gaining belief in what we're doing," he said.

It must be noted that the England Football Association has announced, last month, that Southgate will remain as England's manager until after the 2024 European Championships.

The 52-year-old, who was hired in 2016, guided the Three Lions to their first-ever European Championship final in 2021 and the FIFA World Cup semi-finals in 2018.