Southgate: Man United links ‘completely disrespectful’

England manager Gareth Southgate has branded speculation linking him with the Manchester United job as “completely disrespectful” to current boss Erik ten Hag and insisted he will not speak to any interested parties until after Euro 2024.

The 53-year-old has been Three Lions boss since 2016 but his current contract runs out in December and he previously revealed he considered walking away after England were beaten by France at the quarterfinals of the 2022 World Cup.

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ESPN reported earlier this month that Southgate is viewed as a possible candidate to replace Ten Hag as new part-owners INEOS continue their efforts to overhaul United’s executive positions.

Speaking in response on Friday ahead of England’s friendly against Brazil at Wembley, Southgate said: “I think there are two things from my point of view, one is that I’m the England manager, I’ve got one job basically — to try and deliver a European Championship. Clearly before that, there are two important games this week.

“Second thing is, Manchester United have a manager and I think it is always completely disrespectful when there is a manager in place. I’m president of the LMA [League Managers’ Association] so I don’t have any time for that sort of thing really.”

Sources have told ESPN that the Football Association are keen for Southgate to stay on through to the 2026 World Cup but he has stated he will not make a decision on his future until after this summer’s finals.

Pushed on whether this was still the case, Southgate said: “I think I’ve answered this every time I’ve sat with you. My focus is the European Championship. If we did a contract here before then everybody would be saying, ‘Why are you signing a contract before a Euros where you’ve got to prove yourself?’

“I’m certainly not going to speak to anyone else, I never have, I’ve been eight years in the job and would never entertain speaking to anyone else while I’m in a job, so I don’t know if that answers your question.”

Southgate confirmed Harry Kane, Cole Palmer and Jordan Henderson will all miss Saturday’s game at Wembley through injury. Kane is also “extremely doubtful” for Tuesday’s visit of Belgium.

He refused to reveal whether Ollie Watkins or Ivan Toney will lead England’s attack in Kane’s absence but conceded the pair may be playing for one place on the plane to Germany — assuming Kane is fit — rather than finding three spots for centre-forwards in a 23-man squad.

“Well, that is a decision we will have to make because clearly a nine is a specialist position,” Southgate said when asked if three out-and-out strikers is too many in a 23-man squad.

“They have different attributes and that would depend a little bit on injury status in other positions in the squad and also having perhaps players that can play more than one role,” said Southgate.

“I think both of them are aware that the opportunity is a big one. But they’re both in good form, they’ve both had time with us.

“Ollie’s been with us more recently, of course, and has done well in the games he’s played. He’s had a fabulous season for his club.

“Ivan, since he’s come back into Brentford‘s team, has had the impact we expected him to, so they are two very, very good players.”