Southgate's pre-World Cup concerns almost forced him to quit
England manager Gareth Southgate had doubts over his future ahead of the World Cup but is now targeting Euro 2024 success.
The Three Lions reached the quarter-finals in Qatar, losing 2-1 to eventual runners-up France, though had up to that point been one of the most impressive teams in the tournament.
Yet his position had been called into question in some quarters given England's poor form prior to the World Cup.
After starting 2022 with friendly wins over Switzerland and Ivory Coast in March, England failed to win any of their six Nations League matches, with their campaign including a humbling 4-0 home defeat to Hungary.
A 3-3 draw with Germany in September gave Southgate cause for optimism, but he conceded he came close to calling it a day.
"The doubts I had came before the [World Cup], really," Southgate told reporters after naming his squad for the upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine.
"I spoke about this a couple of months ago so I'm going over old ground, but I never wanted to be a divisive figure, in terms of me doing the job affecting the performance of the team.
"Then there would be a debate where people say 'I'd rather you lose so you're gone'. I did worry before the World Cup whether I should say I was going at the end, to allow the team the freedom to play.
"I decided not to do that, because when we left Wembley after the Germany game there was an uplift with the mood, and we've always known where we stand with the players.
"I also wanted to show that you've got to come through tough spells as a manager, I'm not going to duck a challenge just because there's criticism.
"But if there's not the level of support and it starts to affect the team, that's something I'm conscious of and that was my thought well ahead of Qatar."
Having committed to staying on for the Euros in Germany next year, Southgate is now looking for a fresh start as he set out his aim for England to go a step further than they managed in the delayed Euro 2020 tournament, when they lost to Italy on penalties in the final.
"I think it's right to assess after a tournament," he added. "We have to start from scratch.
"We have some great experiences over the last few years, which mean being European champions is a realistic aim.
"But we're starting from the beginning again, and we've got to find the hunger to qualify.
"We've got two crucial games and we need everybody firing for two really difficult qualifiers."
Southgate stuck with the majority of his World Cup squad for the first fixtures of 2023, though Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ben White both missed out, with Conor Coady replaced by March Guehi.
Ivan Toney was included despite an ongoing Football Association (FA) investigation into alleged breaches of gambling rules, while Raheem Sterling was absent due to injury.