Gareth Southgate: ‘This might be one of best opportunities we ever have’ | Daniel Taylor

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Three steps from football immortality the England manager discusses the importance of the public’s support, the value of squad harmony and the reasons he failed in club management

As a child he had the team kit, the old Admiral one with the red and blue patches from the 1982 World Cup in Spain. Strictly speaking, his own football career was limited to Crawley Traders under-12s at the time. Yet Gareth Southgate will tell you he always had his dreams, even at that age. When he wore that kit he was Bryan Robson, captaining his country, winning the World Cup.

Argentina, 1978, is a more distant memory. He can remember Archie Gemmill’s slalom through the Dutch defence – the only goal in history to be recreated by the English National Ballet – and the ticker-tape of the final in Buenos Aires. Southgate was seven years old and had been given permission to stay up late. “Then there was the delay because the Dutch player [René van de Kerkhof] had a broken arm and there was a row over the plaster cast he was wearing,” he recalls, 40 years on. “That was bad for me because there was a danger I might be sent to bed and miss the second half.”

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Written by Daniel Taylor in Samara
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