England look to seal World Cup semi spot and keep Gareth Southgate on as boss | Football

England’s Kieran Trippier has expressed his team’s affection towards manager Gareth Southgate (Picture: Getty Images)

Kieran Trippier has spoken of the England squad’s love for Gareth Southgate and made clear they do not want tomorrow’s World Cup quarter-final with France to signal the end of his six-year reign.

The Three Lions take on the holders for a place in the semi-finals in Qatar, a-year-and-a-half after they reached the Euro 2020 final under Southgate and four years on from going out in the last four of the World Cup in Russia.

Southgate is under contract until 2024 but there has long been speculation he could step down after the World Cup whether England are successful or not in Doha.

The Football Association is keen for Southgate to remain and, asked whether the players want the England boss to stay on until the 2024 European Championship, Trippier replied: ‘Of course. We all love Gareth. Gareth is a fantastic manager, I’m sure Gareth and certainly we are focused on France. We are 100 per cent behind Gareth, 100 per cent.’

Trippier’s England team-mate Kalvin Phillips echoed his sentiments and called Southgate’s management style ‘unbelievable’.

Southgate came in for criticism of his selections earlier in the tournament and took stick for a winless Nations League campaign earlier this year which ended in relegation.

The FA is keen for Southgate to stay on as England manager whatever the outcome (Picture: Reuters)

But midfielder Phillips said: ‘People underestimate how good a manager Gareth Southgate is. I have been with England for three years and he has been amazing.

‘We didn’t have good results in the summer but you can put that down to a few reasons. He has tough decisions to make. He has unbelievable players he has to leave on the bench.

‘I understand it is a very hard position he is in but he has been unbelievable since I’ve been with England. He is an unbelievable man-manager.’

England are supposedly relaxed about France’s Mbappe (Picture: Getty)

Trippier insists England are ‘relaxed’ about facing a feared France team, powered in Qatar by five goals from star man Kylian Mbappe.

Put to him it almost sounded as if they were going for a Sunday stroll, Trippier added: ‘Honestly! That’s how relaxed we are. Ultimately that comes from the staff, who have done an amazing job to make the base feel like we are at home.’

So relaxed in fact they welcomed singer Robbie Williams, who was playing a gig in Doha last night, to their Al Wakrah base on Wednesday to perform two of his hits.

England will welcome back forward Raheem Sterling today after he flew home to be with his family following a burglary at their Surrey home.

Phillips said the news was ‘a massive lift’ but admitted: ‘Once one player goes through it then there’s always that thought in the back of your mind that it might happen to you and it’s not a nice feeling.’

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