England

Gareth Southgate has earned chance to make more history with England

Tom Gott
Southgate has worked wonders with England
Southgate has worked wonders with England / Frank Augstein - Pool/GettyImages
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After his stellar few years at the helm of the England national team, Monday's revelation that Gareth Southgate has signed a new contract hardly comes as a surprise.

He took charge of a side in turmoil following Euro 2016 and Sam Allardyce's infamously short reign, and not only did he steady the ship, but he led the Three Lions to the World Cup semi-final and Euro 2020 final, all while setting the team up to go one step further in the coming years.

Southgate's calm, collected approach to management has been ideal for an England side overflowing with young talent - all of whom are susceptible to the over-hyping bug that has plagued many a Three Lions starlet before them.

He has tempered expectations, yet simultaneously demanded the best from his young squad, filling them with the confidence to go and make history without allowing them to fall victim to the pressure that comes with falling just short.

The boss has brought through the likes of Reece James, Bukayo Saka, Declan Rice, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Phil Foden, Jude Bellingham, Mason Mount, Jadon Sancho, Tammy Abraham and, most recently, Emile Smith Rowe and Conor Gallagher, all of whom stand to play a significant role in their country's chances of glory over the coming three years.

Finding a way to make that youth mesh with England's senior core, including veteran stars like Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling, is not always easy, but Southgate's willingness to give every player the keys to the car, rather than just rely on one or two, has made England a real threat on the international scene.

If Kane isn't performing, as was the case earlier this season, the boss has found a way to ensure somebody else does. It was Sterling in the early stages of the Euros, and if it happens again, it could just as easily be a different player stepping up.

Southgate has turned all his players into leaders - young voices not afraid to make themselves heard both on and off the pitch - and with his core approaching their prime over the coming years, robbing him of the chance to prosper from his hard work would have been a travesty.

Critics of his formation - he loves his defensive midfielders - will remain, but when results have been so impressive, why should he change?

Southgate's job is to develop players and win titles. He's smashed the first part of that out of the park, and now we're on to phase two of the plan.

2022 World Cup, here we come.

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