Roy Hodgson is prepared to carry on as England manager beyond Euro 2016 but will not be “begging” the Football Association for a contract extension.
There have been some testing moments since the 68-year-old succeeded Fabio Capello in May 2012, but things appear to be looking up after the World Cup debacle of two years ago.
Hodgson was perhaps fortunate to keep his job after bowing out at the group stage in Brazil, but he repaid the FA’s faith by sealing qualification for the European Championship with a 100 percent record and securing some big wins along the way.
Reports this week have, though, suggested executives at the governing body were unsettled by the wholesale changes made last time out against Slovakia, which ended in a goalless draw and saw them usurped as Group B winners.
It means England are in a much harder half of the draw and hosts France may well lie in wait at the quarterfinal juncture should they overcome Iceland in the last 16 on Monday.
Outgoing FA chairman Greg Dyke has made it clear Hodgson may need to reach the Euro 2016 last four to be assured of an extension beyond the end of his contract this summer, but the Three Lions boss will not be begging to stay on for the 2018 World Cup.
“I am prepared to carry on,” he said. “It is different to wanting it. I’m prepared to carry on if the FA want me to.
“If they don’t want me to, then my contract will have run out and that is how that will be, so I’m not begging for the job.
“I believe in what I’ve done in particular over the last couple of years.
“I believe in the team I am working with and believe the team is showing such potential that it will go on to do good things and if the FA want me to continue with me looking after them I will be happy to do so.”
Asked if this feels like the start of something for England, he said: “Well, that depends. I think it can do.
“I know that I and my coaching staff are capable of carrying it on, but the FA will make the decision on what they want to do.
“One hopes that they will do it on their thinking, on their observations, on their judgement and analysis on what is happening with the national team and not because some journalist has written something contrary to that.”
Hodgson was unusually tetchy when asked whether it was cruel to be judged on one game, telling a reporter “don’t ask me to make stupid comments on that.”
Regardless of the progress made over recent years, though, defeat to Iceland in Nice could well cost the England manager his job.
“To be honest, I am not even contemplating going out to Iceland,” Hodgson said. “I haven’t contemplated losing a game yet.
“I’ve had to accept two draws which I would have liked to have seen be wins, so I am not contemplating anything there.
“As far as I’m concerned, I will prepare the team for Iceland, we will do the best we can to win the game and then after the game we will either be heavily criticised as we haven’t won it or, with any luck, if we played well and won the game people will maybe say we did well.”
Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn told the Independent that Hodgson has his backing.
“Roy has my total support,” Glenn said. “I actually don’t know where these stories are coming from. They don’t come from me, they don’t come from the chairman. So I think it is speculation in those idle hours in between games.
“He has our full support, he has been a great manager and I think we are going to do great things in this tournament.”
Glenn made no comment about Hodgson’s long-term future but said: “We want to just see progress, that is all we have said all along. This is a building team. We should turn up to every tournament being prepared to win it.
“So I don’t see a tournament as just a stepping stone but it is a developing squad. It is the youngest squad that we have had in a generation.
“I think we will continue to see improvement so yes we need to show progress and then take a view from there.”