Gareth Southgate commits to England and rules out taking Chelsea job

• England manager focused on 2020 European Championship
• Southgate confident his No 2, Steve Holland, will also stay put

Gareth Southgate has ruled himself out of a return to club football with Chelsea and expressed confidence his assistant, Steve Holland, will also remain with England as they target success at next year’s European Championship.

The pair are contracted until 2022, but would have featured on Chelsea’s shortlist to replace Maurizio Sarri, who should be named Juventus’s new head coach in the next few days.

Holland, whom Southgate considers the best No 2 in the English game, had also been considered a possible interim at his former club earlier this year when Sarri’s position first came under scrutiny, and would have been an attractive option this time amid a revamped coaching staff at Stamford Bridge.

Asked on the eve of Sunday’s Nations League third-place play-off against Switzerland if he would be interested in the Chelsea job, Southgate said: “No. I’m committed to England, simple as that. I don’t need to hedge my bets in keeping doors open or keeping things alive. There’s no way that I would leave England at this moment in time, to take any job. The only thing on my mind is that we’ve got a European Championship next summer and we’ve got to keep improving this team to be the best possible team we can be for the country.

“We brought 20,000 fans to Portugal which is remarkable, a sign of their engagement with the team and belief in what we’re trying to do. So why would I rush to leave that opportunity and chance to affect not just the football but the other parts that the role brings? My sole focus is producing the best team possible for England.”

Southgate first worked with Holland for the under-21s, and their partnership has been key to the progress made by the senior side. Holland spent six years as an assistant manager at Chelsea, working under André Villas-Boas, Roberto Di Matteo, Rafael Benítez, José Mourinho, Guus Hiddink and Antonio Conte.

“Steve is hugely important to everything we do, in terms of his experience, knowledge and the way he delivers the coaching as well,” said Southgate. “I’m sure at some point in the future he is going to want to be a manager and take that opportunity. I don’t believe that would be now, because he is very committed to the work we are doing, looking forward to next summer.

“But I also understand that, when you have good staff, they’re going to be coveted by other people. That’s a healthy sign because you don’t want bad staff who nobody else wants. And I always would have to find a balance between allowing somebody the opportunity to do something they want to do – somebody who has given me massive support – and having the desire not to lose them because you know they’re an integral part of what we do. He’s the best assistant in the country, there’s no doubt in my mind about that. The most experienced. I’m very fortunate to have him with me.”

John Stones, whose error in extra time was seized on by Memphis Depay in the semi-final defeat by the Netherlands on Thursday, is expected to sit out the game against the Swiss in Guimarães. Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Danny Rose, Harry Kane and Dele Alli, who were all involved in last Saturday’s Champions League final, should start as England seek to end what has been an encouraging season on a high.

“We try to work with the players and help them improve and, certainly after a game like the other night, John will need our support,” added Southgate. “We are asking him to play in a certain way that puts him in more difficult situations. Mistakes are going to happen and I am going to make sure we don’t stop trying to play the right way. But also I have to make sure that we are firm on what is required from us as a team to win football matches.

“Over the year we have shown progress with some consistent performances. Will we be better in 12 months’ time? Absolutely. Because we constantly need to improve. Individuals, because of their age, are bound to improve and they are hungry to do that. They want to drive on. They don’t want to be settled and comfortable with semi-finals. It is not enough for them, same for me. So it is good we are on the same page.”


Dominic Fifield in Guimarães

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Gareth Southgate admits England 'got out of jail' against Iceland
Gareth Southgate said England players needed to learn from their mistakes after admitting they ‘got out of jail’ in their 1-0 Nations League win in Iceland

David Hytner

05, Sep, 2020 @9:07 PM

Article image
England no longer fear the world's top sides, says Gareth Southgate
Gareth Southgate says England are ready for the tactical challenge of Belgium in the Nations League

Paul Wilson

14, Nov, 2020 @10:30 PM

Article image
Gareth Southgate warns Premier League could soon be only 15% English
Gareth Southgate has warned that England may have only 15% of the Premier League to choose from in a decade, such is the influx of overseas players

Sean Ingle

18, May, 2019 @9:29 PM

Article image
Gareth Southgate admits he had doubts about taking England job
Gareth Southgate says he is relaxed about being England manager now but admits he was worried at first about what the job might do to him

Paul Wilson

03, Oct, 2020 @9:30 PM

Article image
Gareth Southgate: I have no fear about taking England manager’s job
Southgate felt he has shown the passion and desire to become permanent England manager but warned his players to show ‘bravery not stupidity’

Owen Gibson

12, Nov, 2016 @10:30 PM

Article image
Raheem Sterling broke ‘psychological barrier’ against Spain, says Southgate
Gareth Southgate has said he believes Raheem Sterling’s two goals in the win against Spain have helped the in-form forward break through a ‘psychological barrier’ with England

Nick Ames

10, Nov, 2018 @10:30 PM

Article image
Gareth Southgate adds light to England squad selection
Gareth Southgate has said he has to decide whether good club form translates into being able to adapt to international football

Paul MacInnes

05, Oct, 2019 @9:30 PM

Article image
Gareth Southgate says England must improve after ‘brilliant adventure’
Gareth Southgate says his players have to ‘improve’ if they are to build on their fourth-place finish at the World Cup

Dominic Fifield at the St Petersburg Stadium

14, Jul, 2018 @6:47 PM

Article image
Gareth Southgate embraces pressure as England seek revenge against Croatia
Gareth Southgate says England need to be tested in high-pressure situations as they prepare for the Nations League match against Croatia

Paul Wilson

06, Oct, 2018 @9:29 PM

Article image
Harry Kane says Wembley referee ‘bottled it’ when England denied goal
The England striker Harry Kane insisted Danny Welbeck’s late ‘goal’ during the 2-1 loss to Spain should not have been ruled out

Dominic Fifield at Wembley

08, Sep, 2018 @10:57 PM