Gareth Southgate’s most iconic England managerial moments

Gareth Southgate has had many iconic moments during his time as manager of England, not least at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2020...

England went into Euro 2020 as joint favourites and largely delivered, reaching the final of the competition. However, they narrowly lost out on penalties to Italy.

This saw England come the closest to winning a major tournament for the first time in 55 years, building on a legacy which started with England's semi-final appearance at the 2018 World Cup.

Southgate has therefore had a fair few iconic moments in his managerial career. Here, Planet Sport looks back at the most memorable.

Leading England Under-21s

Southgate was appointed Middlesbrough manager in 2006 after retiring from playing for the club and was thrown straight in at the deep end.

A disappointing three years at the Riverside saw him take a hiatus from coaching, before returning with England U-21s in 2013. He led the team to 2015 U-21 European Championships but they could only finish bottom of their group.

There was better to come at the 2016 Toulon Tournament. Goals from Chelsea duo Lewis Baker and Ruben Loftus-Cheek gave England a 2-1 victory over France to lift the trophy.

It would prove to be Southgate's last tournament in charge of the Under-21s as a much bigger job awaited.

Landing the England job

After Roy Hodgson's departure, Southgate initially stated that he had no interest in replacing the veteran boss. The job instead went to Sam Allardyce, who left the post after just one game (he still boasts the best win percentage of any England manager with 100%).

Southgate was put in temporary charge and some solid, if unspectacular, results came under his leadership. Nevertheless, they were enough to earn him the job on a permanent basis and he signed a four-year-deal that would see him through the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2020.

Southgate was under little pressure heading into his first major tournament and maybe that was a good thing.

The 2018 World Cup

Southgate had gone to Russia having been told by the FA that even if England failed to make it out of the group stage, his job would still be safe.

However, it became clear very early on that his team would progress beyond that point. A 6-1 blitz of Panama was the highlight of the group stage, before a round-of-16 penalty shootout win over Colombia ignited hopes of World Cup glory for Southgate's men.

Sweden were dispatched comfortably in the quarter-finals before England came unstuck against Croatia in the semi-final despite having taken an early lead. It was a tough defeat to take, having come so close to the final. Nevertheless, Southgate and his players had done themselves proud at an international tournament for the first time in years.

The waistcoat

Southgate's chosen attire for the World Cup was a stylish yet unassuming waistcoat that grew in popularity as the tournament progressed. Some retailers saw their waistcoat sales rise by 35% and #WaistcoatWednesday became a trend on Twitter to celebrate his fashion choice. Southgate tube station was temporarily renamed 'Gareth Southgate' in honour of what his side had achieved in Russia.

Qualifying for the 2019 Nations League finals

Just four months after the World Cup, Southgate and England found themselves on the verge of qualifying for another tournament. This time it was the first ever Nations League and a familiar opponent stood in their way in Croatia.

The winner would progress from Group D and England found themselves 1-0 down with 15 minutes to go, before Jesse Lingard and Harry Kane stepped up late on to secure their place in the final four.

It may not have been a World Cup semi-final, but coming from a goal down to beat Croatia and secure a spot in the Nations League finals was as close to revenge as England were going to get.

The tournament itself was forgettable, with an extra-time loss to the Netherlands in the semi-final ending England's hopes. However, a penalty shootout win over Switzerland did earn Southgate's men third place.

Being unafraid to cap young players

One of the best things about Southgate's reign is the number of debuts he has given to young players. Mason Mount, Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka and Reece James are certainties to go to the Euros this summer and were all first capped in 2019 or later.

Dominic Solanke, Lewis Cook and Jack Cork are among those to have fallen out of favour having been given a chance. And, it's clear to see Southgate is willing to give opportunities to players he thinks deserve it, regardless of age.

It is why England have such an exciting crop of young players in their ranks, as talented youngsters no longer have their pathways blocked by underperforming senior players.

Individual accolades

Southgate has three individual awards to his name, all for his superb work at the 2018 World Cup. First, he was the recipient of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Coach Award in 2018. A year later, he won the Football Writers Association Tribute award 2019 for helping reconnect the national team to their fans and the media.

He was also honoured by the Queen, being included on the 2019 New Years Honours List and receiving an Order of the British Empire for services to soccer.

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