Unruffled Gareth Southgate puts his fresh England ideas into operation

The manager is proving as adept at managing expectations surrounding his World Cup squad as he is at managing the players

The overwhelming impression was of a man entirely comfortable in his own skin. Gareth Southgate spoke with logic and humour but, most of all, he left the unmistakable sense that England’s manager may know a bit more about this level of football than some people realise. “The only thing that bothers me is that everybody keeps asking me about the pressure,” he said. “That’s when I start to think: ‘Bloody hell, maybe I’m not seeing what it should be’. If I felt underprepared, if we were not ready and we’d spent the last 10 days flapping about who should be in, I would probably feel more anxious.”

Instead, he and his staff have held a meeting every Monday to discuss his World Cup squad, the various back-up options and all the logistics of preparing for a major tournament. Small details, in many cases, right down to whether the players should avoid the “misery” of Twitter and inviting a psychologist to join them in Russia. Dr Pippa Grange, who will travel with the squad, has presumably been warned to expect some resistance from one or two players. To quote Jamie Vardy when Leicester City did something similar: “There’s no point putting a psychologist in front of me because he won’t get inside my head.”

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via Football | The Guardian

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