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Southgate ‘will take time’ to consider future after World Cup exit

Gareth Southgate said he would take his time before he makes a decision over his future as England coach after the bitter disappointment of their World Cup quarter-final defeat against France.

Defending champions France won 2-1 at the Al Bayt Stadium, with England captain Harry Kane blazing over from the penalty spot when handed a chance to equalise late in the game, having earlier scored from the spot.

England reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2018 and the final of last year’s European Championship but their long wait for a major trophy will now stretch beyond 56 years.

Southgate said he would now have to take stock.

“Whenever I’ve finished these tournaments I’ve needed time to make correct decisions because emotionally you go through so many different feelings and the energy that it takes through these tournaments is enormous so I want to make the right decision, whenever that is, for the team, for England, for the FA,” he said in the early hours of Sunday.

“And I’ve got to be sure that whatever decision I make is the right one and I think it’s right to take a bit of time to do that because I know in the past how my feelings have fluctuated in the immediate aftermath of tournaments.”

Southgate, whose contract runs until December 2024 to take in the European Championship that year, said he was proud of how his team had performed in Qatar and it was too soon to plan for the future. 

“To go again is a lot of energy and you’ve got to make sure that you’re ready for that. There are (Euro 2024) qualifiers in March and together there’s too much in my head to think much of any of that.

“I wanted to focus totally on this tournament and to approach it in the way that we have and I think we have given a really good account of ourselves to the rest of the world, but in the end only one team wins.” 

The England boss said there was “a lot to be excited about” due to the youthful profile of the squad, saying he felt their performance against France was the best they had played against a major nation during his tenure.

“They know how close they’ve come,” the coach added. “They know they’ve pushed a top nation all the way. We had more possession, more attempts on goal. 

“I’m very proud of how they’ve been not only tonight but through the whole tournament. There are some young players who have announced themselves on the world stage.

“We’ve shown a different side of ourselves in terms of the way that we’ve played. We’ve shown character to come back from behind tonight, we’ve withstood pressure, expectation, everything really, so I couldn’t ask for more of the group of players or staff.”

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