Gareth Southgate says he is the right person to lead England into World Cup

England manager Gareth Southgate
England manager Gareth Southgate says he is ready to lead the side to Qatar.

Gareth Southgate remains convinced he is the right person to lead England into the World Cup.

The England manager has come under fire after his men suffered relegation from the Nations League top tier with a game to spare, following Friday’s 1-0 loss in Italy.

The Three Lions are among the favourites to lift the trophy in Qatar, after reaching the semi-finals in Russia four years ago and finished runners-up at last summer’s Euros.

But things have gone awry at just the wrong time for England.

Southgate was booed by some of the travelling support at San Siro after a fifth winless match, which ratchets up pressure and scrutiny with the World Cup opener against Iran looming large on 21 November 21.

“Look, I think that’s currently where it is and I have to accept that,” he said of the backlash as Qatar approaches.

“I think I’m the right person to take the team into the tournament. 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.

“But I’ve got to separate the summer and the circumstances around the summer from (this match).”

Asked if he remains confident that England will click when the finals come around, Southgate said: “Yeah, without a doubt.

England's Jude Bellingham (left) and Italy's Leonardo Bonucci battle for the ball during the UEFA Nations League match at San Siro, Italy

“We’re playing and have been playing some top level sides and we will be better for that.

“And the younger players, in particular, that have been in these games will have learned a lot from them.

“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.

Bukayo Saka is consoled after missing the decisive penalty in the Euro 2020 final. Credit: PA

“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.”

Southgate also addressed the frustration from fans who heckled from the stands.

“Look, I’ve seen every other England manager have it,” he said of the criticism.

“I wasn’t and never have been carried away by praise. I know how the game is and it turns so quickly. And in the end, you’re judged on results.”

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