Gareth Southgate: FA tells England manager his job is safe despite Nations League results

The Football Association (FA) has backed Gareth Southgate following England’s disappointing Nations League results this month and reassured the manager that his position is safe.

Southgate’s side took just two points from their four Nations League fixtures, and were beaten home and away by Hungary. The 4-0 defeat at Molineux was England’s biggest home defeat in 94 years.

England are three points behind third-placed Italy in their four-team group with just two matches remaining, meaning they are in real danger of being relegated from the Nations League’s top tier.

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Gareth Southgate says he understands the England fans’ response after the 4-0 defeat at home to Hungary and says he has to accept the next few weeks will be ‘unpleasant’

However, Southgate’s job is currently safe and he remains the manager the FA wants to lead England into the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

England have just two matches remaining – Nations League games against Italy and Germany in September – before kicking off their World Cup campaign against Iran on November 21. England will also face the USA and Wales in Group B.

England’s Hungary horror show in stats

  • England lost a home match by four or more goals for the first time since March 1928, when they lost 5-1 to Scotland.
  • Hungary became the first team to score four goals in an away match against England since the Hungarians themselves won 6-3 at Wembley in November 1953.
  • England’s first defeat by four or more goals since May 1964, when they lost 5-1 to Brazil in a friendly.
  • Only the second time England lost by four or more goals without scoring, along with a 5-0 defeat to Yugoslavia in May 1958, and the first time ever on home soil.
  • England have gone four consecutive matches without a win for the first time since a run of five in 2014.
  • England have scored just one goal over a period of four games for the first time since a run between October 2006 and March 2007.

Southgate is currently presiding over the longest winless run of his tenure, while the four-match period without a victory is the longest England have endured since going five games without success in 2014.

However, the 51-year-old – who was appointed in September 2016 – has credit in the bank after leading England to the World Cup semi-finals for the first time in 28 years in 2018, while they reached their first Euros final last summer, where they lost on penalties to Italy at Wembley.

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The Athletic’s Adam Crafton discusses some of the morning newspaper headlines after England’s 4-0 home defeat to Hungary in the Nations League

Southgate – who coached Middlesbrough and England U21s before taking his current role – also oversaw a third-place finish in the inaugural Nations League finals in Portugal in 2019.

Meanwhile, the FA has revealed it is working on a joint strategy with other national associations to shine a light on human rights abuses in Qatar ahead of the country’s hosting of the World Cup.

However, no decision has yet been made on whether the FA will contribute towards a fund designed to provide aid for bereaved workers’ families and to build a workers’ centre in Qatar.

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