EURO VISION PLAYERS and fans last night begged Gareth Southgate to stay on as England manager.
As he arrived back in the UK from Qatar amid World Cup heartache, he said he will “reflect and review” his position.
Southgate waves after landing with the England team at Birmingham Airport
Gareth Southgate has been begged to stay on as England manager
Southgate with Kieran Trippier in Qatar before departing
But it sparked a huge outpouring of support for Southgate to lead the Three Lions to Euro 2024 victory in Germany in 18 months.
Midfielder Declan Rice said: “I really hope he stays.”
But as dejected players and staff prepared to fly home, a huge swelling of support was growing for Southgate to stay on.
England and Manchester United defender Harry Maguire hailed the Three Lions’ boss as “amazing”.
He said: “I’m sure if you asked every player in the team they wouldn’t be able to speak highly enough of him.”
Ex-England keeper Peter Shilton believes the 52-year-old gaffer can end the men’s 56-year wait for a trophy.
He said: “Southgate must stay on as England manager. We have the basis of a team that will eventually win a big trophy. The future looks bright. Keep the faith.”
Southgate’s young guns outplayed the French world champions at the Al Bayt Stadium but were punished at key moments — while Harry Kane’s uncharacteristic penalty miss late on sealed their fate.
Southgate — who has led England to a World Cup semi and a Euros final — is under contract until December 2024 but will now have talks with the FA over his future.
He refused to commit to staying on for the difficult Euro 2024 campaign — where our first qualifier will be in March against our 2020 conquerors Italy.
He said: “Whenever I’ve finished these tournaments I’ve needed time to make the correct decision.
“Emotionally you go through so many different feelings and the energy that it takes through these tournaments is enormous.
He’s achieved incredible, incredible things for his country. He’s been in the semi-finals, and he’s been in the finals. He’s got to do it again because there are players there, younger players, to take us forward.
“I want to make the right decision, whatever that is for the team, for England, the FA. I think it is right to take time to do that.”
Paul Parker, an Italia 90 England star, last night added to the chorus of support for him to stay.
He said: “Gareth Southgate’s going to go back, and he will want to reflect on what happened, but he’s got to be there for the next tournament — he has to be.
“He’s achieved incredible, incredible things for his country. He’s been in the semi-finals, and he’s been in the finals. He’s got to do it again because there are players there, younger players, to take us forward.”
Former England manager Sam Allardyce said: “I’d be surprised if he’s not carrying on for at least the next two years. There’s nothing better as a manager than looking at a team and saying, ‘I have a very, very good squad and I have a very good team at international level’.
“Every manager wants to work with the best and I think he’s the best England has had for many, many years.
“More young lads are coming through, so we are getting better and hopefully more resilient.
“And in the end, hopefully, we can clinch a tournament.”
Emotionally you go through so many different feelings and the energy that it takes through these tournaments is enormous. I want to make the right decision, whatever that is for the team, for England, the FA. I think it is right to take time to do that.
Man United and England legend Gary Neville wants him to remain even after his current contract ends.
He said: “I would love Gareth to stay on for another two years. I’d love him to stay on beyond that, whether it be actually as the coach or whether it be in a role in the FA in the future.”
Fans also pleaded for Southgate to stay after the defeat to France, while Brazilian referee Wilton Sampaio was coming under mounting criticism.
John Jackson, a 59-year-old retired joiner from Gateshead, said: “We were by far the better team against France and would have won if it wasn’t for one kick of the ball and a dodgy ref.
“This England team is still a work in progress but there’s only one man who can lead us to victory in the Euros — and that man is Gareth Southgate.”
England Supporters’ Band trumpeter John Hemmingham, 59, said: “It would be a disaster if we lost him now. We’ve just outplayed the world champions and don’t need a new broom to come in and sweep away all the good work he’s done.”
Sun and TalkTV star Piers Morgan added: “Could anyone else have done better with this (very good) squad of players? I don’t think so.”
Meanwhile, Maguire risked a fine for blasting the ref, who refused two England penalty appeals and ignored a string of French fouls. He said: “It was really, really poor.”
Southgate was seen chatting with Kieran Trippier as the players left yesterday while Jude Bellingham, Rice and Jack Grealish waved and gave the thumbs-up to fans.
Kane was nowhere to be seen as the rest boarded a bus to the airport.
He tweeted: “Absolutely gutted. We’ve given it everything and it’s come down to a small detail which I take responsibility for.”
Saturday night’s game was the most-watched TV event of the year, pulling in 20.4million viewers, ITV said.
Jack Grealish gives a thumbs-up before leaving Qatar
Midfielder Declan Rice publicly backed his boss
Jude Bellingham leaves the team base to fly home
Declan Rice said: ‘I really hope he stays. I love playing under him’