The FA have confirmed Gareth Southgate will stay as England manager following the World Cup and is set to lead England through to Euro 2024.
Sportsmail reported on Saturday night that there was growing optimism from within the FA that Southgate would remain as national team boss.
And on Sunday, they announced the news 52-year-old will will stay on for the final two years of his contract, bringing an end to speculation over his future.
Gareth Southgate (pictured) will stay on as England manager for at least another two years
Southgate had been contemplating his future following England’s World Cup exit to France
In a statement, FA CEO Mark Bullingham said: ‘We are delighted to confirm that Gareth Southgate is continuing as England Manager, and will lead our Euro 2024 campaign.
‘Gareth and Steve Holland have always had our full support, and our planning for the Euros starts now.’
Southgate confirmed after England’s loss to France in the World Cup quarter final earlier this month that he was considering his future.
But, just over a week on, and and after consulting those closest to him – who felt he was edging that way – the England boss has decided to see the team through the Euro 2024 campaign.
He is now set to lead England’s Euro 2024 campaign after deciding to remain in the role
Southgate has widely been credited with transforming England into an elite playing nation
The news comes as a major boost to the FA, who were desperate for him to stay in charge given the excellent work he has completed to transform England into an elite playing nation, and there is now no need to launch a search for a new manager.
He was encouraged that the public mood seems to have turned in his favour, despite the team’s elimination from the World Cup against France last weekend.
Southgate was greatly affected by the reaction of the public on his return to England, sensing the positivity gleaned from how well England played and the nation’s desire to see the team on the front foot.
England’s leading players had also urged him to stay on after the France defeat and messaged him to reiterate that. Southgate is likely to feel that he would be letting them down if he were to quit now.
However, it is clear that he went into the tournament expecting to quit. He had already hinted at how badly affected he was by the booing at Molineux last June after the 4-0 defeat by Hungary and by the groundswell of negativity towards him.
Many of England’s leading players had reportedly urged the 52-year-old to remain in charge
According to the report in The Sunday Times that Southgate planned to see out his contract, in a story written by Southgate’s biographer, the manager was close to announcing then that he would quit after the World Cup.
His thinking was that if the fans knew he would be going it would take the heat out of the situation. His assistant Steve Holland talked him out of that.
Last week though Southgate has noted how balanced media and public reaction has been to the disappointment of elimination.
Unlike with the Euro 2020 final, when the occasion was marred by hooliganism, racist social media attacks on players and an anger towards Southgate, this has been a more unifying experience, the consensus opinion being that England pushed the world champions to their limits.
There has only been a very small backlash against Southgate. It means Southgate will be back at helm in March in a tricky Euro 2024 qualifying game against Italy in Naples, followed by a home match at Wembley against Ukraine.
With just 18 months to go until Euro 2024 and with Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden now establishing themselves as key to the England team, the temptation to continue has been pretty obvious.
Southgate memorably helped guide England to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup
They also reached the Euro 2020 final under him and he has been widely credited with transforming the nature and atmosphere around playing for England in a hugely positive way
With France and England now looking the strongest sides on the continent in terms of squad depth and quality and it would be uncharacteristic of Southgate to duck that challenge.
When the FA sacked Roy Hodgson in 2016, Southgate initially ruled himself out of the running, which saw Sam Allardyce appointed.
Southgate quickly regretted that and so put himself forward when Allardyce was sacked after just 67 days, explaining that he urged his children to take risks and accept challenges and so he couldn’t then shirk such a huge opportunity.
Since taking on the job following Allardyce’s departure, the former defender has overseen significant progress for the Three Lions.
After guiding them to the semi-finals at the 2018 World Cup – during a tournament in which England fans fell back in love with their national team, Southgate then led the Three Lions to the final of Euro 2020.
They were defeated on penalties to Italy, before England exited at the quarter-final stage in Qatar. In total, he has won 51 of his 81 games in charge.