Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has distanced himself from the possibility of replacing Gareth Southgate as England manager, insisting that moving from club football into the international game is not something that interests him at this stage of his career.
Despite taking England to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and the final of Euro 2020, Southgate has found himself under increasing pressure as the 2022 World Cup nears.
England have failed to win any of their last six games and were recently relegated from the top tier of the Nations League for the first time. Southgate has a contract that runs until after Euro 2024 but has already admitted that won’t save him from being sacked if England underperform in Qatar.
If things go badly, it could end up with the Three Lions being on the hunt for a new manager for the first time since 2016 when Southgate replaced the short-lived Sam Allardyce.
As one of relatively few English coaches working in the Premier League in recent years, Howe has often been tipped for the England job since establishing former club Bournemouth as a top flight team. The 44-year-old has also continued to impress since taking over at Newcastle last season.
But for Howe, an ambitious project with the Magpies remains his only focus.
“Gareth has done an incredible job - I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I never say never. Never say ‘no, it won’t be something I am interested in’. But, in the short term, [being England manager] is not on my radar at all,” Howe said this week.
“It is all Newcastle and trying to make this team better,” he added.
“I have always said I love the day-to-day coaching, love being with the players on the training ground. International football, you get that taken away for long periods. At this moment in my life that is not something I want to do.”