‘We were so close’ – Gutted Southgate reflects on World Cup KO and says England ‘feeding at top table of world football’

GARETH SOUTHGATE claims England went “so close” to glory in Qatar and are now consistently “feeding at the top table of world football”.

The Three Lions‘ boss has “few regrets” despite Saturday’s unlucky 2-1 loss to favourites France in the World Cup quarter-finals.

Simon JonesGareth Southgate, seen departing Birmingham airport after returning from Qatar, says England have ‘grown’ despite World Cup agony[/caption]

APThree Lions’ boss Southgate regrets little despite the missed opportunity[/caption]

Southgate is “reviewing” his future after a semi-final spot in 2018, shootout woe in the Euro 2020 final and now another near miss.

But he believes England have “exciting” strength in depth and are finally cemented in the international elite.

Southgate told  England’s YouTube channel: “Ultimately we’ve fallen short, I can’t get away from that.

“But we’re feeding at the top table of European and world football consistently now.

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“If we’re in that place with the depth of squad that we’ve got, then that’s exciting and important for England. 

“It’s a difficult time for everybody. We’re really aware of that. I think the players have represented them in the right way, played in the right way.”

Southgate admitted the brutality of a sudden exit – sealed when Harry Kane missed a late second penalty – is hard to take after so long preparing.

Speaking in the Lions’ Den with M&S Food host Josh Denzel, he said: “It’s a really strange feeling because the end of a tournament is so stark.


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“Everyone is packing everything up, after going through years of preparation and then months of tighter preparation.

“There’s also the feeling that we’ve come so close and the performance, we were happy with.

“We felt we could’ve gone on and done more but yet, I really have few regrets about the whole thing so emotionally it’s a rollercoaster.”