Why Gareth Southgate's new England deal may be good news for Leeds United
Gareth Southgate's new deal as England manager may be good news for those of a Leeds United persuasion.
The 51-year-old’s deal was set to expire after next year’s Qatar World Cup but he and his assistant Steve Holland have now signed a two-year extension through to December 2024.
It is a reward for the great strides England have made under Southgate in recent times, who later this month will celebrate five years in charge of the national team.
During that time the former Middlesbrough boss has led the Three Lions to a first World Cup semi-final since 1990, a third-placed finish in the Nations League and the final of the European Championship for the first time.
“I am delighted that Steve and I have been able to extend our stay in our respective roles,” said Southgate after putting pen to paper on an improved contract.
“It remains an incredible privilege to lead this team. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mark (Bullingham, Football Association chief executive), John (McDermott, technical director) and the board for their support – and of course the players and support team for their hard work.
“We have a great opportunity in front of us and I know they and the fans are all excited about what this squad could achieve in future.”
Bullingham admitted over the summer that it was the FA’s intention to offer Southgate a new deal following a successful Euros campaign.
Southgate had been at pains to stress since this summer’s European Championship that he would not discuss the matter until qualification for the World Cup was secured.
That goal was achieved earlier this month as England sealed top spot in Group I in emphatic fashion with a 10-0 win in San Marino, coming days after a 5-0 victory against Albania.
Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips may be one of those to welcome his manager's contract extension after developing into a vital part of Southgate's England set-up since becoming a Premier League player around 18 months ago.
The Thorp Arch academy product now looks set to be a mainstay for his national team for the foreseeable future.
The Yorkshire Pirlo, as he is affectionately known, has earned 17 caps over the last year for the Three Lions under Southgate's stewardship.
“The way he has taken to international football, it hasn’t surprised us because what we’d seen with Leeds, even in the Championship, we felt could convert into our team. We felt he could play an important role with us," Southgate said of the midfielder's abilities recently.
“To play in the enormity of the matches he did in the summer and play as well as he did is a massive credit to him. He’s a very, very good player and he’s been a really important part."
The England boss saw Phillips feature in every game in his side's run to the final of the Euros at Wembley in the summer.
Southgate also handed a first call up to Whites striker Patrick Bamford back in September before handing him a cap against Andorra in a World Cup qualifier at Wembley.
The 28-year-old bagged 17 goals and seven assists in the top flight last term under Marcelo Bielsa though has only made five appearances so far this season due to injury.
England's next training camp will take place in the New Year in March following a busy few months of domestic football.