Gareth Southgate reveals criticism from fans and media made him question position as England manager

Gareth Southgate has revealed criticism from fans and the media made him question his position as England manager prior to the 2022 World Cup.

England had a torrid Nations League campaign where they failed to win any of their six matches, which included a 4-0 defeat to Hungary, and were relegated from League A to League B.

That heavy loss against Hungary led to doubts from Southgate about his future.

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“I was worried after that game the team would be affected by the narrative about whether the manager stay or go, and when we went into the games in September we were a little bit anxious,” he told BBC Sport.

“At Wembley against Germany the crowd weren’t against their team but they were waiting to see what happened.

“I’ve been around teams where that can inhibit performance, and the last thing you want as a manager is that your presence is divisive and inhibits performance.

“I knew I had support with the players and [the FA], there are bigger things at stake with England than just [that].

“My only concern was when it feels like there might be division between what the fans want and where my position might have been, that can affect the team, and I was conscious of that leading into the World Cup.

“I felt we had great support, but I was conscious, how would things be during and after?”

Although England only reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup, where they were narrowly beaten 2-1 by France, the Three Lions’ performances were much improved.

Southgate, who has a contract that runs until 2024 after the European Championship in Germany, was “conflicted” about whether he should stay as manager post-Qatar.

He revealed the decision in the end was “not difficult” because of the progress the team has made

“You need to give yourself time in these situations to make good decisions,” he added.

“I think it’s easy to rush things when emotions are high, and very often you have to sleep a little bit more and come to the right conclusions.

“The question for me was, ‘is it the right thing to keep taking this project on?’ Because it’s not just the six years I’ve been with the seniors – I’ve been here 10 years with developing everything as well. So I wanted to make sure I’m still fresh and hungry for that challenge.”

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