Despite trolls, Gareth Southgate believes he's the right person to lead England into World Cup 2022
Under-fire Gareth Southgate remains convinced he is the right person to lead England into the Qatar World Cup 2022, which is set to begin from November 20.
Under-fire Gareth Southgate is still convinced that he is the best candidate to guide England to the World Cup 2022 and is optimistic that the group will gel in Qatar.
The Three Lions are among the favourites to win the trophy this winter after finishing runners-up at last summer's European Championship and reaching the semi-finals in Russia four years ago.
However, at the worst possible time, everything went wrong for England, as they were demoted from the elite division of the UEFA Nations League after Friday's 1-0 loss in Italy.
Southgate was booed by supporters travelling to San Siro and heavily trolled across social media platforms after England's fifth winless clash, which increases pressure and scrutiny as the World Cup opener against Iran on November 21 approaches.
Even as #SouthgateOut continues to trend on Twitter, the England coach has sent a solid message to haters, saying he believes he is well suited to lead the team for the Qatar World Cup 2022 campaign.
I'm the right person to take England into Qatar World Cup 2022: Southgate
"Look, I think that's currently where it is and I have to accept that," Southgate said of the negative vibe as World Cup 2022 approaches.
"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. 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. But I've got to separate the summer and the circumstances around the summer from (this match)," the England coach added.
When asked if he is confident the England team will gel and click when the showpiece event in Qatar gets underway from November 20, Southgate said, "Yeah, without a doubt."
"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. "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," the England coach added.
Southgate's toughest stretch as England's manager is currently underway, with cheers from the crowd being replaced by loud fan annoyance. Fans continue to troll the Englishman on Twitter, even as the team gears up for their next UEFA Nations League clash against Germany.
I know how the game is and it turns so quickly: Southgate
Breaking his silence over the criticism he has received in recent times, Southgate said, "Look, I've seen every other England manager have it. 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."
After having 'been through pretty much everything', including missing the crucial penalty in the Euro 96 semifinal, Southgate believes he can handle the pressure.
The former defender recovered from that, and now, in his opinion, is the right time for resiliency from a squad that is not, as in the past, burdened by the colour of their jersey.
"I think the players are free to play," Southgate said. "I think inevitably when you're having a run where you're not winning… and, I repeat, I have to separate the summer from this."
"The summer created pressure but we weren't fielding our strongest team and they weren't in good physical condition. We always have felt that one of the keys with England is you have to keep winning matches to keep the pressure off, which allows things to happen. Unfortunately the scenario in the summer created pressure. Of course, tonight is going to add to the noise around that but it's for me to deal with that. I'm the leader of the group and it's for me to keep them on track," the England manager stated.
Will Southgate prove critics wrong in England's clash against Germany?
Now attention turns to Monday's Wembley clash against Germany and Southgate has acknowledged England has a 'slight lack of depth in the middle of midfield' that is now being underlined by Manchester City star Kalvin Phillips' absence due to a shoulder injury.
"There's the recovery from surgery, which there's an estimated time (for)," Southgate said of England's 2020–21 men's player of the year. "Then there's the reality of how much football he might have and how much football he's had in the last eight weeks so he's of course a big doubt," he concluded.