England qualified for Euro 2024 last month with victory over Italy, and their campaign concludes on Monday.
Asked whether he had yet inspected the pitch, he insisted: “No. I know they’ve re-laid it. I would imagine it hasn’t quite knitted, but we’ll see.
“That’s why you want to make sure you’re qualified well in advance”, he replied, when asked whether playing on poorer-quality pitches was a concern. “We said that right at the start of the qualifying campaign — you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get away from home.
When reminded some Premier League managers might be concerned about getting their players back in one piece after the international break, Southgate joked: “There will be that without a pitch [issue] or not! We wouldn’t take any chances with players.”
Southgate is out of contract in December 2024, meaning Monday’s fixture against North Macedonia could prove his final qualifier as England manager.
“I haven’t thought about it really”, Southgate said about that possibility. “I’ve thought about the game tomorrow and the need for a better performance than Friday so that’s what I’ve been focusing on.
“I feel almost as if we’ve almost talked too much about the Euros already [internally this week], and I didn’t see our focus in the right place at the weekend. So it’s tomorrow, then it’s March, then it’s the summer. And we go from there.