After the Three Lions thrashed Albania, England manager Gareth Southgate dismissed speculation regarding his future as “irrelevant.” The highlight of England’s 5-0 triumph at Wembley was Harry Kane’s hat-trick, which placed them one point away from qualifying for next year’s World Cup in Qatar.
All of the goals at Wembley came in the first half, including those by Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson. Southgate was expected to sign a new two-year term to take him through to Euro 2024, according to reports before the game, but the manager claimed it was not his priority.
He told ITV: ‘It’s an irrelevance for me. I’m under contract, I’m not out of contract, and I’m very well backed and supported here. My focus is getting this qualification done and everything else can wait.
‘We need a point, we are not done, and it would be wrong for my attention to be anywhere else than that. My job was to get this team to a World Cup and then we can look at everything else after that.’
Kane also told ITV that the players want Southgate to stay longer.
‘I personally, and the lads, love Gareth,’ added Kane. ‘We want him to stay but it’s his personal decision and we’re backing whatever he does.
‘We’ll enjoy tonight, he’ll enjoy tonight. Let’s get one more win on Monday and then we can enjoy a fantastic year.’
To qualify for next year’s World Cup, England needs a point at San Marino on Monday.
Southgate added: ‘The first half was fantastic, the best we have played for a long time, but it’s always difficult to maintain that when you are so far ahead. We were still professional in the second half, but unfortunately, we couldn’t give the crowd more goals.
‘We are best when we have an edge. We didn’t produce what we should against Hungary and we wanted to put that right and we had a game where we had a chance to put us on the verge of qualification for a World Cup, simple as that.’