Soccer-Southgate considered resigning as England manager before World Cup

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - England depart from Qatar after losing their quarter final match against France - Al Wakrah, Qatar - December 11, 2022 England manager Gareth Southgate leaves the hotel REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

(Reuters) - Gareth Southgate contemplated resigning as England manager following criticism ahead of last year's World Cup despite leading his team to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and the Euro 2020 final.

England struggled before arriving in Qatar and were booed after losing 4-0 at home to Hungary in the Nations League in June.

Southgate then considered announcing the World Cup would be his last tournament in order to get more support behind the team.

"I never want to be in a position where my presence is affecting the team in a negative way," he told BBC Sport on Thursday. "The last thing you want as a coach is for your presence to be divisive and inhibit performance."

"My only concern (...) was when you feel there can be division between what the fans want and where my position might have been, that can affect the team, and I was aware of that going into the World Cup."

Southgate led England to the World Cup quarter-finals in Qatar where they lost to France and the manager wanted to be sure after the tournament that staying on was the right thing to do.

"Getting knocked out in the quarter-finals was very tough, but the support of the players and the fans definitely lifts you up," said the 52-year-old.

In December, the Football Association (FA) announced the coach signed a new contract through to the end of 2024.

"The team keeps getting better. We are all gaining confidence in what we are doing," Southgate said the decision to stay in charge was not a difficult one and he hopes to get a chance at next year's European Championship in Germany.

"I've been here for 10 years, developing everything as well. So I wanted to make sure I'm still fresh and hungry for that challenge," he said.

(Reporting by Angelica Medina in Mexico City, editing by Ed Osmond)

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