Card games, tea with Tony Adams & El Tel – How Gareth Southgate learned to lead

Gareth Southgate learned his “calm leadership” from Terry Venables, card games and afternoon tea with Tony Adams.

Southgate admits that former England boss Venables is his biggest influence and one of the reasons why he will not lose his cool at the World Cup.

Do not expect to see Southgate throwing touchline tantrums or hear about throwing tea cups in the dressing room this summer.

Southgate’s mindset comes from the heady days of Euro 96 when Venables managed with composed authority and a relaxed environment around the squad.

“In ’96 it was Stuart Pearce, Tony Adams, Teddy Sheringham and myself, and we’d have a game of hearts and a scone and clotted cream at about 4pm,” said Southgate. “Clotted cream got banned, which was sacrilege, really.

“Hearts is a tactical card game, rather than lobbing in three cards and seeing who has the highest score. Gazza was running between the badminton court, snooker hall, fishing with Dave (Seaman).

“One of the most important things I’ve said to everyone – not just the players, but the support team behind them – is calm leadership is one of the most important things you can provide in this environment.

“Terry had a really good balance of enjoyment, as a relaxed guy, and knew the moments to have fun and relax, but when we worked he was spot on. He was by no means a disciplinarian, but no one stepped out of line because there was a respect for him.

“I’ve not necessarily lost my rag with the players in terms of having to shout or scream at them. But some things have happened in my time as manager which I haven’t been happy with.

"I’ve always had to make decisions around that as to how to deal with it.”

Southgate will make up to ten changes from Saturday’s win over Nigeria for the friendly with Costa Rica as he wants to give players a run-out but the biggest dilemma is over Jordan Henderson.

Liverpool midfielder Henderson missed out on the England captaincy, lost the Champions League final and is also vying for one midfield berth with Eric Dier in the World Cup starting XI.

Southgate added: “It is a key decision, but that’s management. You either select players, or you choose your system and choose the best people to fit into it.

“They’re the tough calls. I’d be amazed if the two of them aren’t important figures during the tournament for us, but there is clearly the possibility they might not both play in every match.”

How far will England get at the World Cup?


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