Gareth Southgate says contract extension talks can wait as the England manager put all his post-Euros energy into reaching next year’s World Cup.
Just 46 days after the heart-breaking penalty shoot-out loss to Italy at Wembley, the Three Lions boss was back at St George’s Park to name his 25-man squad for September’s qualification triple-header.
Leeds striker Patrick Bamford was the only uncapped player selected for the matches against Hungary, Andorra and Poland as England look to take a giant stride towards Qatar 2022.
World Cup qualification is Southgate’s sole focus right now, meaning talks over a new contract beyond next winter’s tournament are on the backburner.
Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham said during Euro 2020 that he wants to hand Southgate a new deal, but there have been no talks about an extension.
“We have not had any time for anything of that nature,” Southgate said.
“I had 10 days here after the tournament and was away for a couple of weeks and then Mark has been away for a couple of weeks.
“We have just been focusing on debriefing the tournament and preparations for the games this week.”
Former England defender Southgate said after the loss to Italy that he did not want to outstay his welcome, having succeeded Sam Allardyce, initially on an interim basis, in 2016.
Asked if they will sit down this international break or next to resolve his future, Southgate added: “In my head I have to focus on what is the priority at the moment and that is getting the team qualified for Qatar.
“I am sure at some point over the next few weeks I am due to meet with Mark and I am sure we will have discussions but in my head the autumn for me is about getting the team to Qatar and everything else can wait.
“It is not important and I am contracted through to Qatar anyway so anything we discuss is about time beyond that and is not relevant for this period.”
September’s triple-header brings with it England’s two toughest-looking matches in Group I.
The Three Lions head to Budapest to take on Hungary next Thursday and face Poland in Warsaw after what is expected to be a Wembley cakewalk against minnows Andorra.
Southgate was “always going to pick the bulk of the squad from the summer” given their performances in the Euros and the importance of these matches, meaning there were not many major changes.
Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden missed out through injury, while Southgate says Ben White and Ben Chilwell were effectively ruled out by their disrupted start to the season.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Nick Pope and Jesse Lingard were handed recalls to a squad that saw Bamford receive his maiden senior call-up.
“I think his progress with Leeds has been excellent,” Southgate said. “Very close thing at the end of last season with us and this is a good chance for him to come back in.
“We worked with him at Under-21 level so we know him anyway and a fabulous moment for him and his family.”
The most surprising omission from the 25-man squad was Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood.
Having pulled out of the provisional Euro 2020 squad through injury, the one-cap 19-year-old was tipped to be included for these games after a fine start to the campaign.
“Well, he is in our thoughts,” Southgate said. “Very much. I’ve spoken with him and with his club. He’s a player we really like and we think he’s going to be… you know, he’s got every possibility to be a top England player.
“We’re all very conscious that we make that progression at the right time.
“He is just breaking into the team at Manchester United with a lot of responsibility. That’s a big thing for a young player to deal with and we want to get that progression with our seniors as well as we possibly can so that we get the best possible player at the end.
“So we’re all aligned on that – Mason, the club, his family, us – and we feel at the moment the best thing for him after these first few games is he stays with his club.
“But he’s very much a player that we like. It’s clear on his performances at the moment he would warrant being in the squad. Absolutely.”