Gareth Southgate hints at big-money contract extension but has Qatar World Cup fear

England squad for Albania and San Marino World Cup qualifiers

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Gareth Southgate has hinted it was his players that have convinced him to extend his stay as manager of England. The Three Lions boss is set to sign a two-year contract extension following a breakthrough in talks with the Football Association earlier this week.

Southgate’s future had looked unclear amid talk he could depart after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar but now he’s set to lead England beyond the tournament.

His new deal will take him right through to Euro 2024 in Germany then once again, his position will be reviewed.

England turned in arguably one of their finest performances under their manager on Friday night at Wembley as they thrashed Albania 5-0 with Harry Kane netting a hat-trick.

And Southgate has now made it clear that working with this special group of players is the best part of his job.

He said: “As a manager you want to work with good players.

“There aren’t a huge number of jobs out there and being the manager of England is a massive privilege so of course I take that responsibility really responsibly.

“It means a lot to me to be in the position I am.

“We’ve shown over the last couple of years that we’ve got some real strength in depth.

“But I think that there is still a long way to go and room for improvement. We’ve got to keep evolving and keep improving.”

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Yet while there is a naturally good feeling around the England camp at the moment with the Three Lions on the verge of qualification, Southgate has raised concerns about the lack of preparation his side will be exposed to ahead of the World Cup.

Dates released this week by the Premier League suggest Southgate may only get five days to prepare for the tournament with his squad.

He continued: “Next season is unique. Normally we go into tournaments picking up the pieces at the end of a season, but this will be during the season.

“The unknown is what will happen with the tight turnaround after the last league matches.

“Ahead of Russia in 2018 we had 28 days with the first group of players that arrived.

“Next year we will have seven days – and those players who will have played that weekend won’t be able to train for the first couple of days.

“So the difference is stark. I’m assuming we’ll have to fly them to Qatar, as normally you have to be in the country five days ahead of the tournament.”

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