LONDON: England manager Gareth Southgate has told the BBC he considered quitting because of criticism he faced before the World Cup.

England were knocked out of the tournament by France in the quarter-finals, 18 months after losing the Euro 2020 final to Italy on penalties at Wembley.

The team were booed off in June following a 4-0 defeat against Hungary at Molineux in the Nations League – part of a generally poor series of results leading into the winter World Cup.

Southgate said: “I never want to be in a position where my presence is affecting the team in a negative way.

“I didn’t believe that was the case but I just wanted a period after the World Cup to reflect and make sure that was still how it felt.”

The 52-year-old said he asked himself: “Is it the right thing to keep taking this project on? I wanted to make sure I’m still fresh and hungry for that challenge.”

Describing his role as “the greatest privilege of my life”, he said the decision to stay was ultimately “not difficult” because of “the quality of performances and the progress that we’re making”.

“The team are still improving. We’re all gaining belief in what we’re doing,” he said.