Wearing a large blazer, Gareth Southgate almost looked like a manager when he was just 18 years old. Back in 1989, the head coach of England represented the Crystal Palace youth team on a trip to Portugal with Chris Powell, now his assistant coach. Our manager Alan Smith was great at that, and who we represented, so we couldn’t get rid of them despite the scorching heat, Powell said.
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It was a difficult place, south of London in those days. Gareth was from the border of Sussex, but he learned to penetrate the force of his personality and how he adapted. Powell’s memories reflect the personality of the 50-year-old England international who led England to the final of the men’s tournament since winning the 1966 Football World Cup. While Southgate is loved and respected throughout football, he has the inner strength and confidence that translates into the kind of leadership that has inspired the nation.
Southgate, who is a fan of the Manchester United boy, attended Pound Hill Junior School and Hazel wick School, both in Crawley, Sussex. He said both schools were “important” to him in taking the ball, mainly because of his PE teachers. Dave Palmer taught Southgate at Hazel wick. He was very confident. I remember the last conversation I had with her when I was in school.
We were talking about the future and they were asking the boys what they were going to do next year. Gareth said ‘I’m at Crystal Palace’ and it dawned on me that this was what he was going to do. As a 16-year-old, he spoke with complete conviction. In those days, 60 unusual boys were taking a football test when they joined the school. He stood out straight because he was educated and had a lot of time. He used to fly around the stadium. Southgate caught the eye of Sven-Goran Eriksson while the Swede was Lazio’s manager. For more to know about Qatar World Cup tickets Click here.
When Eriksson became England’s manager in 2001, he had to deal with Southgate’s frustration at being left behind by Rio Ferdinand and Sol Campbell. Southgate was part of the England squad for the 2002 Football World Cup but did not play for a minute. He won his last 57 appearances against Sweden in 2004, two years before the end of Eriksson’s incumbent spell. He came to me and asked for a meeting. She wanted to know how to make herself better. That’s not easy, keep working, and keep improving yourself with players like Sol Campbell and Rio Ferdinand.
It’s a little unusual. In my experience, players don’t get into a manager. I could see that he was a thoughtful man. He thought about the training we had done, why we did something a certain way. You could see he lived for football. He was very eager to learn and I would not be surprised if, at the time, he thought of becoming a manager in the future. Former England Under-21 manager Southgate replaced Sam Allardyce after one of England’s 2018 World Cup qualifiers in the semi-finals in Russia.
Assistant manager Steve Holland has been with Southgate all his time as England manager and under-21s. I started working with Gareth in 2013. I did not know him, but when I met him, it was clear that he was a decent man and completely stable. That is always a good start because in football you don’t always get too many in that category. He had a passion for working with young players. He knew them all and had a drive and a vision to show that English football could be better represented.
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