Southgate won’t quit after England U21 side’s early exit from European Championship

Englands Nathan Redmond reacts during the Euro U21 championshipGroup B match between England and Ita

Englands Nathan Redmond reacts during the Euro U21 championshipGroup B match between England and Italy, at the Ander stadium in Olomouc. - Credit: AP

Gareth Southgate will not quit as England Under-21s head coach despite their early exit from the European Championship.

A year to the day since a goalless draw with Costa Rica rubber-stamped the senior team's disastrous World Cup, the Young Lions wasted a glorious chance to raise the nation's hopes and make the semi-finals.

Southgate's men arrived at the Ander Stadium with destiny in their own hands, but capitulated against Italy and fell to an embarrassing 3-1 defeat in Olomouc.

It led to the Under-21s' third straight group-stage exit on this stage, understandably raising questions about Southgate's selections and his position as head coach.

But the former defender signed a contract extension until 2017 in January and has no intention of reneging on that deal.

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'I'm contracted to stay on, I'd like to stay on,' Southgate said, when asked about his future. 'In the end, it's not my decision.

'But I think what we've done over two years has progressed the profile of the team, the style in which we've played.

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'I think we've had some massive success stories in terms of individuals that have come through the programme. Even in this tournament one or two players that have come through have emerged from it.

'So I think people will look at all of that when they're making that decision.'

Southgate reports to the Football Association's technical director Dan Ashworth, who was in Olomouc to witness the Young Lions' capitulation first-hand.

He, like the rest of the nation, would have been buoyed by England's bright start, only to be left exasperated by Italy's quick-fire goals through Andrea Belotti and Marco Benassi.

Matters got worse when Benassi directed home a fine header in the 72nd-minute, rendering Nathan Redmond's impressive stoppage-time strike meaningless.

That was England's 20th attempt of the night and just their fourth on target - a toothlessness which hampered Southgate's men throughout the tournament in the Czech Republic.

'They are so tight as a group, they've been through so much together,' Southgate said.

'They've learned so much over the past two years but also in the last couple of weeks about tournaments, about themselves and life and everything.

'And ironically, in terms of style of football, it was probably the best that they've played tonight.

'But games are won and lost in both penalty boxes, simple. We let poor goals in and we weren't able to convert the chances that we made.

'We made more chances than any of the other games that we've played.

'They've been absolutely brilliant to work with,' he continued. 'I've been asked 'is there a lack of commitment?' and 'do they not want it enough?'.

'Well, I think the goal at the end epitomises what they're about. We've fallen short maybe of a bit of quality tonight but I think that quality is there.'

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