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Friday 20 July 2018

Southgate: 'I'm not Mr Nice Guy'

Focused: England boss Gareth Southgate
Focused: England boss Gareth Southgate

Gareth Southgate is portrayed as 'Mr Nice Guy' but the England manager says those behind the scenes see a different character.

The 47-year-old is just three months away from leading his country into the World Cup, having previously been selected for four major tournaments in his days as a defender.

Southgate knows better than most what it means to represent England, so is well aware how hard being overlooked for the final squad before making his World Cup selection must have hit the likes of Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling and Michael Keane.

The 57-cap defender has also eased out all-time top scorer Wayne Rooney during his time in charge, suggesting extra depths to a character that some have suggested is too nice for the cut and thrust of elite management.

"I was only ever accused of that by somebody I worked with once, when I was youth player," Southgate told the Coaches' Voice when his 'Mr Nice Guy' persona was put to him.

"And that was probably six or seven weeks into my apprenticeship and, you know, they were having to toughen me up and there were some home truths given.

"But no manager I played for ever accused me of it after.

"I mean I'm saying accused as if it's something be ashamed of and I think anybody that works with me that, you know, I want to win, and I'm prepared to challenge people.

"And so, yeah, does that I mean I walk down the street and I'm rude to people and obnoxious to people? Well, I hope not.

"But does that mean I don't want to win and does that mean I'm not prepared to fight for the company I work for, the club I work for or push people as far as possible and challenge people? Well, no.

"I think I'm as determined as anybody else to be successful and I suppose my years of playing - and playing at a high level although not winning quite what I wanted to win - and now managing at a high level would tell people that there's probably more than they know about me.

"But I guess from the outside you never really know people unless you're living with them or working with them and even then you've got other sides to your character that are left for home and other bits that are brought into the office."

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