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England job ´greatest privilege´ for Southgate as manager reflects on decision to stay

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Gareth Southgate described the England manager job as “the greatest privilege” of his life and said he wanted to make sure he was “fresh and hungry” before committing to remain in the role after the Three Lions’ World Cup exit.

A year-and-a-half on from reaching the Euro 2020 final on home turf, England were edged out 2-1 in the quarter-finals of Qatar 2022 by France.

The tournament nevertheless marked a turnaround in form for the Three Lions after a dismal Nations League campaign, underlining Southgate’s record in his role.

But the former Middlesbrough boss acknowledged he needed time to ensure he made the right call in choosing to remain on board.

“I never want to be in a position where my presence is affecting the team in a negative way,” he told BBC Sport.

“I didn’t believe that was the case, but I just wanted a period after the World Cup to reflect and make sure that was still how it felt.”

“Is it the right thing to keep taking this project on? I wanted to make sure I’m still fresh and hungry for that challenge. [It is] the greatest privilege of my life.

“The quality of performances and the progress that we’re making [shows] the team [is] still improving. We’re all gaining belief in what we’re doing.”

England face a banana-skin qualification pathway for Euro 2024, with defending champions Italy, Ukraine, North Macedonia and Malta in their group.

The Three Lions will play the former two sides in March as they begin their campaign working towards next year’s tournament in Germany.

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