New Contract not a distraction before Euro 2024 –Southgate

England manager Gareth Southgate says his contract situation is “not an issue and never has been” as he enters the final six months of his deal before the European Championship in Germany.

Southgate, who has been in charge of the Three Lions since 2016, considered leaving the job after the World Cup quarter-final defeat by France in Qatar but stayed on.

The Football Association is keen for Southgate to remain as manager. He will be overseeing a fourth major tournament as manager this summer, as the men’s team look to win their first trophy since the 1966 World Cup.

And the 53-year-old, who will have managed the same number of England games as Sir Bobby Robson when the tournament kicks off, says the talk about his future will not be a distraction.

“Well, for me, it’s not an issue and never has been,” Southgate said.

“I have to deliver a successful tournament for England and there’s enough work involved in that. I think everybody would expect that’s where my focus should be.”

Southgate has played down links to the Manchester United job with their manager Erik ten Hag under pressure.

“There will always be speculation about managers, because if you lose a couple of games, you’re in trouble – you win a couple of games and it is a different agenda,” Southgate said.

“But for me, it [Euro 2024] is a brilliant opportunity. We’re looking forward to the tournament. My focus is on how do we go a step further than we went in the last Euros [when they were beaten on penalties in the final by Italy].

Southgate spoke to BBC Sport about how he deals with expectation, fitting all his star players into the England starting line-up, Jude Bellingham and being a spokesman.

Southgate will select his initial Euro 2024 squad on Tuesday 21 May – Uefa has allowed 26-man squads for the tournament.

While England have some of the best attacking options in Europe to choose from, they also have injury concerns in defence, especially at full-back where Luke Shaw, Ben Chilwell, Reece James and Kieran Trippier have all missed significant periods of the season.



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