LONDON — England manager Gareth Southgate says he is the right person to lead his country to the World Cup despite a five-game winless run that saw the team relegated from the top tier of the Nations League.
Southgate has credit in the bank having reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and finished runners-up at last summer’s European Championship.
But he was booed by the travelling support in Milan after a 1-0 defeat to Italy on Friday.
England have just one more game, against Germany at Wembley on Monday, before their World Cup campaign kicks off against Iran on November 21.
“I think I’m the right person to take the team into the tournament. I think it’s more stable that way, without a doubt,” said Southgate.
“I don’t think (the) performance (against Italy) was far off and I know that’s going to get derision just because we’re on the back of a run of defeats.”
England have failed to even score a single goal from open play in five Nations League games against Hungary, Italy and Germany.
But Southgate defended his side as they experience a World Cup preparation unlike any other.
Just eight days will separate the final round of Premier League fixtures from England’s opening game in Qatar, leaving no time for pre-tournament friendlies.
“We’re playing and have been playing some top level sides and we will be better for that,” he added.
“In the past we’ve had runs of friendlies or whatever the matches are and then we’ve gone into tournaments and that’s the first time we’ve hit high-level opposition and it’s hit us in the face quite often.
“Now we know the level, now we know what we’ve got to improve and we’ll be better placed for that by having had the quality of matches that we’ve had.” — AFP