Southgate insists England contract extension is an 'irrelevance'

Gareth Southgate insists England contract extension is an ‘irrelevance’ as his focus is on World Cup qualification… despite the Three Lions’ Albania mauling leaving them just one point from Qatar

  • Harry Kane scored a first-half hat-trick to inspire England to 5-0 win over Albania
  • Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson also scored in the first-half for England 
  • England now need to take just a point from their game against San Marino 
  • Boss Gareth Southgate is reportedly close to penning a two-year deal extension

England manager Gareth Southgate dismissed talk about his future as an ‘irrelevance’ after the Three Lions thumped Albania.

Harry Kane’s hat-trick was the highlight of a dominant 5-0 win at Wembley and put England a point away from reaching next year’s World Cup in Qatar.

Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson also scored, with all of the goals at Wembley coming in the first half.

Reports before the game suggested Southgate was expected to sign a new two-year deal to take him through to Euro 2024, but the boss insisted it was not his focus.

England cruised to a comfortable 5-0 victory over Albania after a ruthless first-half display

Gareth Southgate is reportedly expected to sign a new two-year deal to take him to Euro 2024

He told ITV: ‘It’s an irrelevance for me. I’m under contract, I’m not out of contract, and I’m very well backed and supported here. My focus is getting this qualification done and everything else can wait.

‘We need a point, we are not done, and it would be wrong for my attention to be anywhere else than that. My job was to get this team to a World Cup and then we can look at everything else after that.’

Skipper Kane also told ITV the players want Southgate to extend his stay.

‘I personally, and the lads, love Gareth,’ added Kane. ‘We want him to stay but it’s his personal decision and we’re backing whatever he does.

England skipper Harry Kane said he ‘loved’ Southgate and wanted him to stay on as manager

‘We’ll enjoy tonight, he’ll enjoy tonight. Let’s get one more win on Monday and then we can enjoy a fantastic year.’

England need a point in San Marino on Monday to book their place at next year’s World Cup.

Southgate added: ‘The first half was fantastic, the best we have played for a long time, but it’s always difficult to maintain that when you are so far ahead. We were still professional in the second half, but unfortunately we couldn’t give the crowd more goals.

‘We are best when we have an edge. We didn’t produce what we should against Hungary and we wanted to put that right and we had a game where we had a chance to put us on the verge of qualification for a World Cup, simple as that.’

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