World Cup 2022: Gareth Southgate set to remain England boss as he has some business to attend to – Alan Shearer

Chronicle of Alan Shearer

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I have no doubt that Gareth Southgate should stay on as England manager to take us to the 2024 European Championship.

I know he didn’t deliver the trophy we wanted in Qatar, but we have to look at the bigger picture.

Not only on how we have played in this tournament, but also on the progress we have made during his six years in charge.

We were in shambles when Southgate took over in 2016 and felt like we were going nowhere. We had been the laughing stock of Roy Hodgson at the Euros earlier that year and then faced the embarrassment of Sam Allardyce’s exit when we felt like things couldn’t get any worse.

Compare that to where we are now, after the incredible experiences we had in three major tournaments with Southgate, and that’s probably why losing to France hurts so much.

We thought we could win this World Cup because of what we’ve done under him in the past, and also what we’ve shown in this tournament. We were strong competitors for many reasons and Southgate was behind all of them.

After reaching the semi-finals in Russia four years ago and the final of Euro 2020, coming out in the quarter-finals may seem like a step backwards but we are definitely heading in the right direction with him at the helm.

We’re a better team now than we were in either of those two tournaments, although we didn’t get that far this time around – and there’s a lot more to come from these players.

“The players seem to like and respect Southgate”

It will be at Southgate alone whether he stays or not. No one at the Football Association is going to tell him he has to leave, which I think is fair.

No other England manager has taken a team to more than three major finals since Sir Alf Ramsey [four between 1966 and 1972]and Gareth understandably wants some time to think about his future before thinking about another campaign.

But I really hope he decides to continue for the next tournament as well, and I hope he feels he has unfinished business with this exciting young team from England.

They all seem to like and respect him, and they also seem to like playing for him because of the environment he has created in his teams.

He got the best out of them in Qatar but they will feel like they could have gone further and I think it helps that their chance to turn things around – at the next Euros in Germany – is no longer only at 18 months.

We begin the journey to those finals with our first qualifier against Italy in March, in a repeat of last year’s final. We should line up with the core of players who have played so well here, and Gareth is still their leader.

He’s already been criticized for some of his tactical decisions in big games, but I don’t think he could or should have done anything differently in our loss to France.

My only disappointment is that their winning goal came from a cross, something I mentioned in my last column as being a big part of their game.

I thought France’s approach might suit our centre-halves and full-backs, who deal with these kinds of deliveries every week, but ultimately that’s how the game was decided, with an old cunning fox like Olivier Giroud finding a meter of space in the box.

“When you give your all, you can hold your head up high”

On the positive side, we faced the supporters and the favorites to win this World Cup, played well and created a lot of chances. It just wasn’t meant to be.

We lost, but we gave it our all and when that happens you can hold your head up high.

I had a similar feeling after my England team lost to Germany at Euro 96 and then Argentina at the World Cup in France two years later. We also worked so hard and played in thrilling matches that were intense competitions that were decided by the best margins.

After the two losses I came away thinking ‘we could have won this’ and feeling all the pain that comes with such a short loss – although when I thought about our performance I was proud and there were reasons to be positive.

So I know how much this defeat is going to hurt England players right now, especially Harry Kane after his late penalty miss.

I feel for Harry, but that’s the life of a top striker. You always have to put yourself forward for such a huge moment. You can’t score with all the chances you have, but some chances are bigger and mean more than others, so one of them will hurt a lot.

It will probably haunt him for the rest of his life, but there is nothing he can do about it.

The biggest penalty I missed was for Newcastle against Sunderland in 2000 – and I still think about it today.

This world cup was here for the taking

We are left with guesswork, rather than thinking about England winning this World Cup, but I believe we had a real chance when I look at the teams remaining in the tournament because it was really there for the taking .

Croatia have only won one game in open play so far and not much is happening ahead. Argentina aren’t a big team either, although they have Lionel Messi, that’s why they still have a chance.

Morocco, who England would have faced in the semi-finals, are well organized and dangerous on the counter-attack but I would have backed us to beat them.

Instead, we go home, but I’m sure the younger members of our team can use this experience to help them the next time we reach that milestone.

Many of them had memorable moments to take away from this tournament, but it was Jude Bellingham who stood out for me as an exceptional player.

Bellingham is only 19 but, from the start, his performances were so mature and he showed that he was not afraid of anything or anyone.

He’s one of the reasons the future is so exciting for England. This World Cup remains a missed opportunity, but we will approach the next Euros as one of the favorites, I am sure.

Alan Shearer was talking to Chris Bevan in Doha, Qatar.

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