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Gareth Southgate has been England’s coach for five years, saying memories of the Three Lions’ Euro 2020 campaign will remain with him “forever”.
The former Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace defender replaced Sam Allardyce on 30 November 2016, having held the post of U21 manager since 2013.
Southgate was originally appointed on a temporary basis, but was given the reins permanently after four matches and has since led England to a World Cup semi-final in 2018 and the final of the European Championship 2020 in July.
England secured their place at the World Cup in Qatar next year by topping their qualifying group, going undefeated and conceding just three goals in 10 matches in the process, leading to a new contract for the 51-year-old, which runs until 2024.
“Taking a country to a first final in 55 years, for all involved, for all staff, all players and for all fans, some of the memories of Wembley through this summer will live with me forever,” Southgate told England’s official Homepage.
“[At the 2018 World Cup in] Russia, we brought a connection back to the fans. There were probably several generations of fans who had not been to a semifinal. This year was truly unique when one thinks we had been locked inside for so long and everything we had been through.
“There’s an important place for international football. It brings everyone together. When you feel like you’re there with 50 million people behind you, it’s a huge feeling.
“People used to say ‘well, no one cares about international football anymore’, but they did. I think everyone had just been hurt and disappointed a lot and you will hardly get hurt anymore and you pull say from it.
“Now we have some generations of fans who think it’s always been like that. Well, let me tell you guys, it’s not!”
A special interview with the boss
– England (@England) November 30, 2021
Southgate provided an insight into the process of rebuilding a team that was low-believers and turning them into a side that is capable of challenging at major tournaments.
“Confidence was low [when I first took the job], “Southgate added.” This was not a split group, but there was a lack of confidence due to the last few tournaments and two managerial changes in a few months, so we had to stabilize things to begin with, and we had to qualify for a World Cup.
“That was the priority, but of course we knew in the background that there was a younger generation of players coming through to support the guys who were already there and who could provide real competition for the seats with some good experience of winning. at junior level.
“[They were] technically really good players who might be able to play in a slightly different way than previous traditional English teams where I was in tournaments with England where we could not hold the ball enough.
“Now in the biggest matches we have a step to go with because we have managed it for long periods in tournaments, but under real pressure we still have to be better at it.
“You have to have continuity. You need a really clear sense of direction for everyone who works at St. George’s on football and for everyone in the FA.
“I think it’s an honor for everyone, the various chairmen and top executives I’ve worked with here, that they have put football more at the forefront of their thinking, and there has been a plan.”