Despite heightened scrutiny following a dismal Nations League campaign, Gareth Southgate maintains he is still “the appropriate person” to guide England into this year’s World Cup in Qatar.
After a five-match losing streak in which they lost twice to Hungary, including 4-0 at home, and failed to score in open play, England was demoted from the top division of the Nations League.
Following that Wembley shock in June, the audience turned against Southgate, and after Friday’s 1-0 loss to Italy, there were boos once more from visiting supporters.
However, the manager who last summer guided England to the Euro 2020 final and the 2018 World Cup semi-finals is sure that “stability” prior to the competition is in England’s best interests.
“I think I’m the right person to take the team into the tournament,” said Southgate.
“I think it’s more stable that way, without a doubt.
“I don’t think (the) performance (against Italy) was far off and I know that’s going to get derision just because we’re on the back of a run of defeats.”
England’s final competitive match before the World Cup begins on November 20 is against Germany at Wembley on Monday, but Southgate thinks his team will profit from having played top-tier opposition before Qatar.
“The younger players, in particular, that have been in these games will have learned a lot from them,” Southgate added.
“In the past we’ve had runs of friendlies, or whatever the matches are, and then we’ve gone into tournaments and that’s the first time we’ve hit high-level opposition and it’s hit us in the face quite often.
“Now we know the level, now we know what we’ve got to improve and we’ll be better placed for that by having had the quality of matches that we’ve had.”
On November 21, England will play its opening World Cup match against Iran.