"All of us are ambassadors for England. But we have all been fans as well, rushing home from work or school to watch our games."Gareth Southgate
I am exceptionally proud to have the responsibility of leading England to a World Cup.
Gareth Southgate was appointed as England manager in November 2016, following a successful spell as interim boss.
He took on and oversaw the Three Lions’ World Cup qualification campaign, leading England to Russia 2018 with a game to spare whilst also tailoring the squad and outlook of the team to his liking.
Before his appointment to the senior team, Southgate had already worked with a number of the players in his role as England U21s head coach, when he took over in September 2013.
During that time, he led his first Young Lions squad featuring the likes of Jack Butland, Harry Kane, John Stones and Eric Dier, through an impressive qualification campaign to the Euro Finals of 2015.
He then moulded another group for a second Euro campaign, with players such as Jordan Pickford, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Joe Gomez and Dele Alli blossoming under his coaching and winning the Toulon Tournament in 2016 just months before his ascent to the seniors.
Southgate was no stranger to international football prior to his coaching involvement either, picking up 57 caps as a player.
Initially a midfielder after coming through the ranks at Crystal Palace and captaining the Eagles to the old First Division title in 1994, it was following a move to Aston Villa a year later that Southgate first earned international recognition.
He made his Three Lions debut in December 1995 against Portugal, under Terry Venables and quickly became a key player in the squad as a central defender as England went on to reach the semi-final of Euro 96 on home soil.
Southgate earned acclaim for his displays throughout the competition, only for his and England’s tournament to come to a brutal end after a penalty shoot-out defeat to Germany at Wembley, where his spot-kick was saved to cost the Three Lions a place in the final.
That moment didn’t define his England career though, as he went on to feature in three more tournaments such as the World Cup in 1998 and 2002 and Euro 2000.
On the domestic front, after six years and almost 200 appearances for Villa, Southgate headed north in 2001 to join Middlesbrough where, as captain, he led the side to their first major trophy with the League Cup in 2004.
It was with Boro that Southgate had his first experience of management too, taking over as boss in the summer of 2006 following the departure of Steve McClaren to take over as England manager.
During his three seasons in charge, he led them to 12th place in the Premier League in his first season and continued to build on that in the following campaign before he left in October 2009 following their relegation to the Championship.
After taking time out to travel, visit and observe training and coaching methods at a number of different clubs in Europe following his departure from Boro, Southgate enjoyed an 18-month spell with the FA as head of elite development.
During this time, he worked with young players in England’s development teams and also helped oversee changes in grassroots football with the aim of helping young players improve their technical skills.
Now, many of those players who he may have first helped during that time find themselves trying to impress again for the England senior team.