Interim England manager Gareth Southgate says it would be unprofessional to focus on his own future rather than Friday’s clash with Scotland.
The former centre-back was elevated from his role coaching the Under-21s to replace Sam Allardyce in September and earned four points from the two World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia last month.
The visit of Scotland to Wembley and the friendly with Spain next week could be Southgate’s final matches in charge, although there is some speculation he will be given the role on a full-time basis should the team earn two favourable results.
The 46-year-old insists his sole focus must be on sealing three points against Gordon Strachan’s side to put England in a commanding position to reach the finals in Russia in 2018.
“I’m really enjoying being in the role. What happens to me is not important – we want to win this game for the country and to be top of the group,” he said.
“What happens to me is important to my family but, other than that, it’s not the purpose of this game. I want the players to go out and enjoy their football, play well. I’m sure they will.
“My focus is 100 per cent on the match and it would be irresponsible and unprofessional to be any other way. I’m enjoying working with the group of players and my focus is on winning the game. It’s as simple as that.”
Southgate revealed his players have held talks this week to try and stamp out any complacency within the squad, and he feels establishing an effective style will be crucial to the team in future.
“I think it’s important that the team has an identity. Everybody has a slightly different way of playing, and the more we have an England way of playing, the easier that will be to adapt to,” he said.
“We had a conversation about the difference between confidence and arrogance. That’s not where we want to be, but we need to play with confidence. We need to believe in the players we’ve got and adapt to the situation.
“That will build as the players mature together. They should be proud to be in the position they’re in. They’re the best 23, 25 in the country and it’s taken a lot of work to get into that situation.”
Midfielder Jordan Henderson, who captained Southgate’s side against Slovenia in the absence of Wayne Rooney, believes the ex-Middlesbrough boss deserves to be given the role on a permanent basis.
“The manger’s done brilliantly since he’s been given the opportunity, we feel as though we’re going in the right direction on the training pitch and we’ve learned a lot,” he said. “We’re trying to put those ideas into a game situation.
“Obviously it’s a massive game. England-Scotland, if you look at the history, it’s huge, it isn’t just a normal fixture.
“The lads know the importance of this game, not only because it’s Scotland but because we want to qualify for Russia and this will put us in a good position.”
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