The head coach‘s current deal expires at the end of the FIFA World Cup 2022.

England national football team manager Gareth Southgate is close to signing a two-year extension on his current contract. The tactician has done a brilliant job with the Three Lions and the recent record speaks for itself. Under his leadership, England has only one defeat in the last 20 fixtures, which came against Italy in the Euro 2020 final.

Southgate has indicated he would prefer to continue to work with the national team by suggesting a lack of opportunities at club level. His current deal runs until the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. A two-year extension would see him oversee the squad until Euro 2024, a tournament England is desperate to win.

Here are five reasons which justify the offering of a new contract to Gareth Southgate.

5. Solid performance in the World Cup qualification

England have secured a direct qualification into the 2022 FIFA World Cup by topping their World Cup Qualification group. The outfit won eight of their 10 fixtures and secured the top spot with 26 points. They easily navigated through a group which comprised teams like Poland, Albania, Hungary, Andorra and San Marino.

Under the reign of Gareth Southgate, England have won all of their qualification groups whether it is for the Euros or the FIFA World Cup. This is a genuine raise in standards if one looks at the struggles of teams like Portugal which are under the threat of missing out on World Cup qualification. 

4. Squad is close to reaching the peak

Gareth Southgate took over the position as manager in 2016 and had to help the team through a transitional phase. He brought a lot of young faces into the team and took the risk of taking a young team full of potential to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Since then, the unit has steadily developed under the manager which was seen by their performance at the Euro 2020.

As Southgate continues to oversee the development of the players, the team is close to reaching it’s peak. The recent performance at the Euro 2020 and World Cup qualifiers stands as evidence of Southgate’s work with the team. He deserves to see the progress of the squad until the 2024 Euros where they will have a real chance of going all the way. 

3. Adept at multiple systems

England has some of the best attacking players available to choose from but Gareth Southgate has been cautious about the team’s balance. On occasions, players like Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Jack Grealish and more do not enjoy a lot of gametime. Fans expectedly criticise his team selection but he gets them right most of the time and grinds out positive results. Players like Reece James, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Bukayo Saka and more have grown and made an impact on the international stage.

Southgate employs a cautious 5-4-1 formation against more challenging teams. He has recently also introduced a 3-4-3 system against weaker opposition and the Three Lions have thrived under the system. The ability to introduce multiple systems and getting the players to easily adapt to them is a brilliant quality. Southgate deserves an extension to see his work reach its conclusion till the Euro 2024 at the least.

2. Reaching the semi-final of 2018 FIFA World Cup

England players celebrate their victory over Sweden in the 2018 World Cup quarter final (Courtesy: DNA)

As mentioned before, Gareth Southgate overtook a directionless England squad and provided it stability. The first major challenge for the team was the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. There were no major expectations from a young squad. Southgate stuck by promising players with an understanding there was a lot of room for improvement. However, despite one eye towards the future, England delivered a fabulous performance in Russia. 

The Three Lions finished fourth after reaching the semi-final and losing the third-place playoff to Belgium. Under Southgate’s leadership, the team overachieved but none of it came down to fortune. There was a real belief that England could make the final after scoring the first goal against Croatia in the semi-final through a glorious free-kick by Kieran Trippier.

1. Reaching the final of the Euro 2020

England made a lot of progress from the 2018 FIFA World Cup to the Euro 2020. The qualification for the Euros was seamless as the outfit won their qualification group. There were bigger expectations from England and the squad delivered on them. The outfit reached the final of the tournament by playing exceptional football. Southgate’s men defeated the likes of Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Ukraine and Denmark to reach the final.

Unfortunately, they conceded defeat against Italy in the final on penalties in a nail-biting encounter. England took an incredible lead through Luke Shaw and looked set to cause an upset but it was not meant to be. However, the campaign had many positives and the upcoming World Cup in Qatar makes England one of the strong contenders. Gareth Southgate deserves a lot of praise for these performances and deserves an extension on his current contract as a result.

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