EURO 2020: Gareth Southgate earns FA backing despite murmurs of discontent 
(Photo by Eddie Keogh - The FA/Getty Images)

Regardless of what's to come for Gareth Southgate and his England squad in the knockout stages of their Euro 2020 campaign, Mark Bullingham, the Football Association Chief Executive, has expressed his desires of keeping the Three Lions helm intact until beyond next year's World Cup in Qatar

The news comes off the back of England's defensively nous performance in this year's Euro group stage, where England topped their group without conceding a goal. Naturally, this has got the nation on their feet again, as it's the first time they've achieved this since the 1966 World Cup, in which they lifted the Jules Remit Trophy.

Perhaps the actions of the FA reflect on their belief that a positive camp at this summer's major tournament is cardinal to their successes on the pitch, and so Bullingham has enunciated his faith in Southgate and his coaching staff.

England are in their penultimate stages of preparing for one of international football's biggest rivalries: England vs Germany. And for England, it means welcoming Joachim Low's well-oiled German side to a 40,000 person strong Wembley Stadium - the biggest crowd at a sporting event in the country since the first lockdown was introduced. 

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England fans have murmured their discontent at the lack of quality chances that this current Three Lions squad procure in their fixtures, but this is not something that the FA sympathize with. 

"Am I enjoying the football? Yes, I am," Bullingham said. "Gareth has done a brilliant job, finishing top of the group, really solid defence, and he's done really well on and off the pitch, in every aspect.

"Our support is unwavering. 100 per cent unwavering. Unwavering support. We are 100 per cent behind Gareth. He knows how we feel about him.

"We feel he is brilliant, both on and off the pitch. We want him to carry on. He's doing a great job. Regardless of Tuesday. Absolutely.

"Regardless of the group stage of the tournament we would have wanted him to carry on, not just in (this) tournament, but if you look at Nations League as well, he did brilliantly in that."

  • Southgate still has his critics

Although he has the FA's backing, Gareth Southgate still has his critics, something which has become inevitable when you become England's head coach. 

When a manager decides to put pen to paper with the Three Lions, it is thought that one of the points raised in the contract is England fan's undying great expectations, no matter what team they must watch.

Since the 1966 triumph and the time that football came home in the 1996 Euros, the nation that sandwiches itself between Wales and Scotland has longed to return to the pedal stool. Southgate is one of the lucky few to know what it is like to be in a great England squad, being an international defender in the '90s.

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And just like that squad back then, the high expectations are heavily mounted on England's top stars to deliver this summer. The likes of Jack Grealish and Phil Foden have been likened to Paul Gascoigne, and the incomprehensible excitement is there for all to see.

After scoring just two goals in the group stage, despite the creed that England's best asset is their creativity further upfield, some fans question whether the former defender is the right man for the job.

What fans fail to realise, though, is that this England squad is in its genesis. Of course, there are many bright sparks in the ranks at St George's Park, but many are still at too young of an age to make a significant impact.

The beloved household names of Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden, Reece James and others are still at tender ages, so the weight of expectation perhaps needs to be reconsidered.

For many of England's cardinal talents, this will be their first major tournament, emphasising the need to reevaluate the expectations. While it is true that more attacking nous is necessary for the bigger clashes, Southgate's pragmatic tactics have worked so far.

  •  Focus on the successes and the process

At the time of Southgate's promotion to the senior management role of the Three Lions, England were suffering from the hangover of the 2016 Euro campaign, where an Iceland win in the first knockout round saw Roy Hodgson endure his darkest hour at the helm of the national team.

And it was a hangover that wasn't cured easily, as Hodgson's replacement, Sam Allardyce, only lasted one game before the 2016 English football scandal led to his departure.

But England needed someone fast, with the 2018 World Cup qualifiers well underway, so that's where Southgate came into the picture.

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After winning his first game 2-0 against Malta, under Southgate's conservative leadership, England went on to draw 0-0 with Slovenia, beat Scotland 3-0, and draw 2-2 with Spain, despite leading the game until the 88th minute. 

Nevertheless, it earned the amiable personality of Southgate a long-term deal just two weeks later. Now, the attention was on the World Cup, a competition that would shape a summer that will never be forgotten. 

At the time, the FA had once again expressed their loyalties to the process that Southgate was undergoing with his England squad, while also underpinning the ethos that his first major tournament was "a really important staging post for our development".

What followed, though, was a competition run that exceeded everyone's expectations.

England reached the semi-finals, before crashing out at the hands of a Croatian team in the midst of their magnum opus. Nevertheless, a Kieran Trippier free-kick sent the country into raptures, and everyone was chanting Southgate's name.

It must be understood that Southgate has done a brilliant job to a team that lacked confidence at the start of his reign. The waistcoat-wearing tactician has played an important role in building a positive camp at St George's park while reinstating the hope that the nation once had.

Although his most difficult critics will dismiss his successes in the World Cup as merely coincidental, giving easier matches as an excuse, Southgate has brought the country back together and, if all goes well against Germany, it will show just how far the Three Lions have come since Hodgson and Sven Goran-Eriksson