England manager Gareth Southgate has acknowledged that his long contract does not guarantee his safety in his current job and his future will be decided by the Three Lions' performance at the World Cup.
Southgate was handed a new deal after leading England to the final of Euro 2020 last year, with the FA putting their faith in the boss until December 2024.
Since then, however, things have gone downhill. England were recently relegated from Nations League A on a run of three defeats and two draws in five games, leading a number of fans to call for a change in management ahead of the World Cup later this year.
It's a situation that few saw coming when Southgate inked his extension back in November, and the boss has admitted having the extra years on his contract will not save his job if England fail to perform in Qatar.
“I am not foolish,” said Southgate. “I know ultimately I will be judged on what happens at that World Cup.
“Contracts are irrelevant in football because managers can have three, four, five-year contracts and you accept that if results are not good enough it is time to go your separate ways. Why would I be any different? I am not arrogant enough to think that my contract is going to protect me in any way.”
He added: “I am absolutely appreciative of [the FA support]. But of course we understand how the mood changes with the results and has changed. I am realistic about that and I will be judged on what we do in Qatar and I am perfectly happy to be judged in that way. History is history and you are judged on the next match and the next tournament.”
Despite the pressure facing him, Southgate insisted his future is irrelevant and fans should all come together for the greater good of cheering England on to success.
“We can only succeed if we’re all pushing in the same direction, and we’ve all got that positive energy towards doing well,” he said. “What happens to me is irrelevant, frankly. It’s about the team. The most important thing is the team and the success of the team.”