Harefield's ex-England coach tips 'brilliant' Southgate for success at World Cup Russia 2018

Gareth Southgate, England manager Gareth Southgate, England manager Pic courtesy of Ben Sutherland via Flickr

Harefield resident and former England assistant manager Ted Buxton has hailed the impact of Gareth Southgate and believes the Three Lions have a realistic chance of succeeding at the World Cup.

Buxton, who has lived in Harefield since 1994, helped Terry Venables guide England to the semi-finals at Euro 96, as his right hand man.
Southgate was a part of Venables’ squad for that tournament and infamously missed the crucial penalty against Germany which knocked England out of the tournament.
As a result, Buxton is someone who knows Southgate very closely and he has been impressed with the 47-year-old’s work so far, as well as his bold selection for the tournament this summer which saw him pick the third youngest England squad for a World Cup.

Buxton told Hillingdon is Here: “He’s (Southgate) been brilliant. I think he’s looked at the way the Germans have come through. He’s had these kids since young times and he’s brought them right the way through. He knows the players and he knows how to handle them now and that’s down to man management.
“It must be the youngest squad that England’s had. Glenn Hoddle had a few but he didn’t put them in. What he’s got there is the best English young talent in that squad. They are all enthusiastic and if they can all blend together, it will be brilliant. I think he’s got a chance. We’ve got a chance as well.
“I’d be disappointed if we didn’t get to the quarter finals. I think we’re as good as that. Hopefully we’ll do ever better as I want to see them do well. I’m a big England fan. Roy Hodgson is a good friend of mine and so is Gareth Southgate. I know them well and I want them to do well, as I don’t like to see them getting stick.”
England kick off their pursuit for a first World Cup victory since 1966 against Tunisia on Monday night at 7pm.
It was Venables though who handed Southgate his England debut against Germany in 1995 and the now 47-year-old would go on to become a mainstay in the side, winning 57 caps in total.
After meeting Southgate, Buxton says he always felt the former defender would go into management in the future but if Crystal Palace boss Alan Smith had his way at the time, the current England manager may have never been called up by Venables.

When asked whether he envisaged Southgate going into management, Buxton said: “Yes I did. Terry always wanted two or three players that could play in one position or players that could play in two or three positions. One of those people was Gareth Southgate. He could play centre-half, right-back and I always thought he could play in front of the back four as well as a holding player.
“Terry said to me ‘what do you think?’ and I said I think he’d do a job. I don’t know if I should tell this really, but he said phone Alan Smith. Alan Smith was the manager at Crystal Palace at the time before Gareth went to Villa. I phoned him up and said ‘Alan, Gareth Southgate, thinking about bringing him into the squad.’ He said he’s not good enough for that.
“What I think he had in his mind was that playing for England, he was losing him and I think that was at the back of his mind. Gareth came in and he was brilliant. He always listened and was always very intensive. After the session, he’d come after you and ask you about certain things and was always a good listener. We’ve met a few times with Terry at the PFA Dinner and we sit and have a chat with him. You can still see that he’s got those things ticking over in his mind.”

But similarly to the way in which Loris Karius’ Liverpool career will most probably be remembered for his two mistakes in the Champions League final recently, it was the penalty miss against Germany in Euro 96 which has remained with Southgate ever since.
It is that one moment which everyone, perhaps unfairly, remembers from his England playing career, although that may change this summer if the Three Lions manage to bring home the World Cup trophy.
Buxton admits that it was tough to console Southgate after such a decisive moment, but if the 84-year-old had his way, another penalty taker would have come on as a substitute before extra time had finished.
He said: “Tony Adams was suffering that day as he had injections in his knee, both before the game and at half-time.
“When it was going into extra-time and then penalties, I was sitting there and speaking to Bryan Robson and I said to Bryan, and I think I said this to Terry as well but he wasn’t listening at the time, that I thought we should take Tony off and put on a penalty taker which was either Robbie Fowler or Nicky Barmby, who never missed.
“But nobody took any notice and I really felt afterwards that I should have spoken to Terry, but I never went into it.”
England kick off their Russia 2018 campaign against Tunisia on Monday evening.

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