Gareth Southgate will take time to consider his future as the England manager confronts conflicting thoughts after what he admits has been often difficult over the past 18 months in charge.
Harry Kane scored one and missed another against defending champions France on Saturday night as their World Cup dream ended with a 1-2 quarter-final defeat to Qatar.
England’s wait to emulate Sir Alf Ramsey’s 1966 heroes continues as attention turns to Southgate as he handles a final eight-game loss following a summer European Championship final defeat last year before Italy.
The 52-year-old has a contract until the next Euro in 2024 but wants to make sure he has the energy he needs to return and that decision is the right one for the team.
“As I went through the last few tournaments, it was very difficult for my emotions to really think through the next few weeks,” Southgate said.
“You’ve lost a lot of energy and you’ve got too much going on in your head.
“Anyway, I want to make the right decision because it has to be the right decision to go or not to go and I don’t think tonight is the time to make such a decision.
“Not for the next few days.”
Telling him the future looked bright for England, he added: “Yes, look, I’ve seen most of the last 18 months be tough.
“For everything that I’ve loved in the last few weeks, I’ve kept things the way they were for 18 months.
“What was said and what was written, night at Wolves.
“There’s a lot of things in my head that are really conflicting at the moment, so what I want to make sure is that, if that’s the right thing to say, then I definitely have the energy to do it.
“I don’t want after four or five months to think I made the wrong choice. It’s so important that people get it wrong.”
Southgate was heavily criticized during England’s six-match winless streak against Qatar, which resulted in England’s relegation to the top Nations League.
Molineux’s 4-0 loss to Hungary in June was the lowest point and some fans protested against the English boss, just as they did after a 0-1 loss to Italy in Milan in September.
He returned to Italy to begin qualifying for the European Championship in just 14 weeks, and Southgate will sit down with the Football Association before that to talk “everything logically”.
The former defender went through a similar process after reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup four years ago and last summer’s Euro final – losing in a penalty shootout to Italy.
“I don’t think I made it through the last one, but it feels a little different because, when we look back at what we’ve done, I’m not sure what more we could have done or done, ‘ Southgate said.
“I think we put on a really good performance against a top team, which I think is an important psychological step forward for those players.
“There are some young players in particular there, where the step we have to take is to have that belief and that confidence in those big games.
“I’ve been in on the nights where we were up against top teams and were underpowered for most of the game and dominated.
“I know France play a bit more on the counter-attack so it’s a little bit different than a possession team that can hold you back.
“We want to be bold in the league and I think we went up against them and, yes, the players should be really proud of what they’ve done.”
Southgate believes England have “restored prestige” by reaching the quarter-finals in three consecutive tournaments, the last time they achieved under Sven-Goran Eriksson from 2002 to 2006.
The former defender is unsure if he will watch the rest of the World Cup after he returned home on Sunday after abruptly stopping the tournament that was deemed special.
“It was a really weird feeling because the last part of the tournament was so harsh,” he said before leaving their Qatar base.
“People are packing things up and you go through years of preparation, really, and then there’s that feeling.
“There’s a sense that we’ve been very close and the level of performance that I’m very pleased with.
“There was a disappointment that we felt we could have gone on and done more but I really have very little regrets about the whole thing. So yeah, emotionally, that’s real. It’s been a roller coaster ride.”