UEFA Euro 2020

Gareth Southgate reveals his first England memories & hero

Gareth Southgate has revealed his own first memories of watching England when growing up
Gareth Southgate has revealed his own first memories of watching England when growing up / Mattia Ozbot/Getty Images

England men's manager Gareth Southgate has revealed his first memories of watching the Three Lions as a young fan, and named his childhood hero.

Southgate heads into his second tournament as the men's senior manager, with the Euros kicking off on 11 June.

The former defender, who won 57 caps for England as a player, has written a moving letter to England fans on The Players' Tribune, outlining his hopes for the summer ahead.

In the piece, Southgate also reflected on his own formative memories as a Three Lions supporter, highlighting the 1982 World Cup - which featured his hero Bryan Robson.

He wrote: "You remember where you were watching England games. And who you were watching with. And who you were at the time.

"The first England match I really remember watching was in the 1982 World Cup, when I was 11. It was the first World Cup England had qualified for in my lifetime and I was obsessed. I had the wall chart, ready to fill in with every result, every goalscorer, every detail.

"I rushed home from school for England’s opener versus France to see Bryan Robson score after just 27 seconds! To witness that as a young Manchester United-supporting midfielder whose hero was Robson … well, it’s safe to say I was hooked."

With a young Southgate watching, England made it to the second group stage at Spain 82, and were actually eliminated without losing a single game. Italy were crowned champions for the third time, beating West Germany in the final.

England made it to the second group stages in Spain 1982 / Getty Images/Getty Images

Southgate continued: "Later that same year, I watched Luther Blissett get a hat-trick in a 9-0 win over Luxembourg. That specific result might have been forgotten by many but it really stuck for me.

"Every game, no matter the opposition, has the potential to create a lifelong memory for an England fan somewhere."

Southgate's England kick off their Euros campaign against Croatia on Sunday 13 June, before taking on Scotland (18 June) and Czech Republic (22 June).

Gareth Southgate
Southgate was a fan of Bryan Robson and Luther Blissett growing up / Sam Bagnall - AMA/Getty Images

More memories for future England stars will surely be made.

Read Southgate's full piece on The Players' Tribune.