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Gareth Southgate says he is committed to England amidst Chelsea speculation


Gareth Southgate talks with his assistant Steve Holland (left) during England’s Nations League semi-final against the Netherlands

Gareth Southgate says there is “no way” he would return to club management right now, saying he is committed to his role as England manager.

Southgate is also confident assistant Steve Holland will remain in his post despite being linked with Chelsea.

England are nursing their wounds after defeat by the Netherlands in their Nations League semi-final in Portugal.

Southgate is 50-1 with bookmakers to replace manager Maurizio Sarri should he leave Chelsea, but Holland is 9-1.

The bookies’ odds come with reports suggesting Holland is being considered for Sarri’s role.

Many Chelsea fans have expressed their discontent at tactics and team selections, and Sarri’s future has been under speculation for some time despite leading to Chelsea to a Europa League triumph and third in the Premier League.

However, Southgate was quick to focus on his side’s progress and the attempts to win Euro 2020 next summer in a tournament in which the semi-finals and final will be played at Wembley.

“The only thing on my mind is that we’ve got a European Championship next summer and we’ve got to keep improving this team to be the best possible team we can be for the country,” said Southgate, who is contracted until the 2022 World Cup.

“We brought 20,000 fans here [to Portugal] which is remarkable, a sign of their engagement back with the team and belief in what we’re trying to do.

“Why would I rush to leave that opportunity and chance to affect not just the football but the other parts that the role brings? It’s not something that I think you even think about.”

Asked if he would be interested in the Chelsea job if Sarri were to depart, Southgate said: “No. I’m committed to England, simple as that.

“I don’t need to hedge my bets in keeping doors open or keeping things alive. There’s no way that I would leave England at this moment in time, to take any job.”

‘Best assistant in the country’

Holland flourished during eight trophy-laden years at Chelsea as he went from reserve team manager to assistant first team coach – a role he left at the end of the 2016-17 campaign to work with England full-time.

Southgate says Holland is the “best assistant in the country” but he is sure his right-hand man would tell him about any approach.

“He is hugely important to everything we do,” Southgate said. “We are probably the two that live and breathe every single minute of preparation for England, selection of players, tactical preparation, because we are the two people who are full-time on that side.

“For me, he is hugely important in terms of his experience, his knowledge, the way he delivers the coaching as well.

“But I am sure at some point in the future he is going to want to be a manager and take that opportunity.”

On Sunday, England face Switzerland in the Nations League third-place play-off.

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