The next chapter in the Southgate story
AN ENGLAND MAN Is there anything that would surprise people about Gareth Southgate? Not really. I am as I am. You have to be authentic and lead the way that suits your personality, people will smell very quickly if they don’t think you’re genuine. However, I do accept that at home I’m lower in the pecking order, below the kids and the dogs. You were born in Watford, but recently given the accolade of Honorary Yorkshireman It’s nice to feel that people have accepted me, I guess because of the length of time I’ve lived here, I’m now viewed as one of their own. I know how proud people are to come from Yorkshire and I’ve embraced and recognise what a strong county it is. When England played Costa Rica at Leeds United it was one of the best experiences I’ve had as manager. Have you got any amusing stories from your playing days? Ones that we can print? I played for England with people like Paul Gascoigne, so everyday something was going on. Summer 2018, all eyes were on Russia at the start of the World Cup. How did you think the England team would perform? We didn’t know. Many of the players were quite inexperienced at international level. We had the second youngest team and in terms of international caps the least experienced team, but we had belief in their talent and a group of players who embraced everything and played at a high level.
What were the main things that propelled England to that World Cup semi-final? They were a tight, close team, not wanting to let the person next to them down, as well as being clear on their roles and how to play; maximising strengths and minimising weaknesses. We talked about attacking the tournament, our mindset and seeing each player’s character, especially when dealing with the media, telling their own stories and communicating with supporters. How did it feel to have such intense support for the team from the nation? I’m not certain we realised just how big it was until Fabian Delph travelled back to England from Russia during the tournament, for the birth of his child and when he came back he explained how huge the support was back home. Sport brings people together, the team feel pride in playing and are even more determined to get the right results. Did you ever think the waistcoat would be such a massive hit? Not a chance! I had all my stuff out on the day I was leaving and I said to my kids “I think it’s going to be too hot to put on a jacket and I don’t want to wear just the shirt, do you think I can get away with the waistcoat?” My son looked and went “Yeah, you’ll be fine Dad, don’t worry” and it’s as simple as that, but there were theories that it was power dressing, it really wasn’t and no way did I think it would have such a big impact.
Six members of the 2018 World Cup team; Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kyle Walker, Fabian Delph and Jamie Vardy, plus reserve Lewis Cook, were all born in Yorkshire. What is it about Yorkshire that’s created so much talent on the pitch? Yorkshire values, very little ego with grit and determination to improve.
iGoing forwardi What are your hopes for the England team going forward? We’ve experienced what success could feel like and the players have belief they can achieve. Our challenge is to integrate some of the exciting young players coming into the squad, keep learning from the best and succeed in a high pressure environment.
iTrophy teami What are your thoughts ahead of UEFA Euro 2020 and the 2022 FIFA World Cup? Incredibly exciting. The Euros is a unique tournament played across a number of countries. If we progress, we know that the semi-finals and final will be at Wembley. Home sporting events create an incredible feeling in the country. The majority of players from the last World Cup will be close to their peak in 2022. The opportunity is there and experience wise we should be in a better place.