Soccer-England's Southgate wary of new contract talk ahead of Germany clash

·2-min read
Euro 2020 - England training

By Simon Evans

(Reuters) - England manager Gareth Southgate has said that "outside backing" will determine his future and dismissed talk of a new deal despite support from his Football Association (FA) bosses ahead of Tuesday's Euro 2020 last-16 clash with Germany at Wembley.

Southgate's contract runs until after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which takes place from Nov. 21-Dec. 18, but FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said on Saturday that he would like him to stay on even beyond that tournament.

"Any manager is going to be grateful for the total backing of the board and chief executive so from my perspective, that's obviously (good)," Southgate told a news conference on Monday.

"I know that that's a private conversation that I've had, that support, but... you know in the end internal backing and support is important, but in this role in particular, external backing is just as important," he said.

If England fail to get past Germany and go out in the last 16, there would likely be calls from some critics for a change of direction and the external backing Southgate referred to was likely a reference to public opinion and the media.

In the past the FA have given pre-tournament contract extensions or commitments to managers only for disappointing results to lead to pressure to change the man on the bench.

Southgate said his view had been that such discussions should wait until after the European Championship is over.

"I always think to discuss contracts around tournaments in the past hasn't been the right thing and we were certain we weren't going to do that before this tournament," he said.

"We should see how this goes. So all my focus is on the game and getting this team as far as we possibly can."

Southgate faces a number of selection issues, including whether or not to include left back Ben Chilwell and midfielder Mason Mount in his squad after they spent the last week separated from their team mates after coming into contact with Scotland's Billy Gilmour, who tested positive for COVID-19.

The pair will travel to London separately but will be able to link up with the rest of the squad from midnight (2300 GMT).

(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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