Gareth Southgate has already started 2022 World Cup preparations – but the England manager knows a difficult Euros next summer could mean someone else leads the side to Qatar.
The past week’s comprehensive wins against Montenegro and Kosovo saw top spot in Group A wrapped up as well as a place among the top seeds for Euro 2020, where the Three Lions’ pool matches will be played at Wembley.
England are among the favourites to return to the capital for the semis and final after another impressive year that Southgate will take stock of during an international hiatus that will centre on preparations for what is shaping up to be another unforgettable summer.
Yet it is not just the Euros that the former defender has on his mind. The Three Lions boss is heading to Qatar in December as the groundwork gets under way for the 2022 World Cup.
Southgate will watch Liverpool’s Club World Cup campaign and look at potential team camps as he looks to get a feel for the country at the same time of the year that the tournament will be played – yet he admits there are no guarantees he will definitely be in charge come the World Cup itself. “Well, that will depend very much on how we get on next summer,” said the Three Lions boss, who is contracted until after Qatar 2022.
“When you have a week like you’ve had, you sense that people can fall out of love with you and if there isn’t a warmth for you to continue, then that can start to affect the team. I’m realistic about how quickly those tides can turn.
“When I started and we looked at other federations, we were almost embarrassed to go and look at where we should be preparing for. And Germany always secured the best bloody hotel!
“We’ve had to be a bit bolder and say: ‘No, look, it’s not a jinx to go and do it’.”