Gareth Southgate will take time to consider his future as the England manager faces mixed thoughts after what he admits has been an often difficult last 18 months in the hot seat.
Harry Kane scored a penalty and missed another on Saturday night against defending champions France as their World Cup dreams ended with a 2-1 quarter-final defeat in Qatar.
England’s anticipation to emulate Sir Alf Ramsey’s 1966 heroes continues as attention turns to Southgate as he processes his quarter-final defeat following last summer’s European Championship final defeat by Italy.
The 52-year-old has a contract until the next Euros in 2024 but wants to make sure he has the energy to restart and that the decision is right for the team.
“When I’ve been going through the last few tournaments, my emotions have been hard to reflect properly in the following weeks,” said Southgate.
“So much energy has been taken from you and you have so many things going through your mind.
“I want to make the right decision in both cases because it has to be the right one to restart, or the right one not to restart and I don’t think tonight is the time to make such a decision.
“Not even the next few days I really am.”
Submitted to him that the future looks bright for England, he added: “Yeah look, I’ve found a lot of the last 18 months difficult.
“Despite everything I’ve loved about the past few weeks, I still remember how things went for 18 months.
“What was said and what was written, the night at Wolves.
“There are a lot of things in my head that are really conflicting right now, so what I want to make sure, if it’s the right thing to say, is that I definitely have the energy to do it.
“I don’t want to spend four, five months thinking I made the wrong choice. It’s too important that everyone gets it wrong.”
Southgate was widely criticized during England’s six-game winless run leading to Qatar, which resulted in relegation from the top flight of the Nations League.
Molineux’s 4-0 defeat at the hands of Hungary in June was the low point and some fans turned on the England manager, just as they had done after September’s 1-0 defeat by Italy in Milan.
England will return to Italy to kick off Euro qualifying in just 14 weeks and Southgate will sit down with the Football Association earlier to discuss “things in a logical way”.
The former defender went through the same process after his run to the semi-finals of the World Cup four years ago and the final of the European Championships last summer, a defeat on penalties which still hurts him.
“I don’t think I’ve made it through the last one, but this looks a little different because, when we reflect on what we’ve done, I’m not sure what more we could have done or given,” said Southgate. .
“I think we gave a really good performance against a top level team, which I think was a significant psychological step for those players.
“There are some young players in particular, where the step we have to take is to have that conviction and that faith in those great games.
“I was involved in nights where we played top teams and trailed most of the game and dominated.
“I know France are a bit more on the counterattack, so it’s a bit different to a possession team who can block you.
“We wanted to be bold in the tournament and I think we went toe to toe with them and, yeah, the players should be really proud of what they’ve done.”
Southgate believes England have “restored credibility” by reaching the quarter-final stage in three successive tournaments, last captured under Sven-Goran Eriksson between 2002 and 2006.
The former defender is unsure if he will watch the rest of the World Cup after returning home on Sunday following an abrupt halt in what was shaping up to be a special tournament.
“It’s a really strange feeling because the end of the tournament is so tough,” he said before leaving his base in Qatar.
“Everyone packs everything up and you go through years of preparation, really, and then there’s that feeling.
“There was a feeling that we were so close and the level of performance that I was so happy with.
“There is the disappointment we feel that we could have gone on and done more, yet I have very few regrets about the whole thing. So, yeah, it’s really a roller coaster emotionally.