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Published 31 December 2021 4 min read

Southgate pays tribute to Steve Holland

Written by:

Nicholas Veevers

England boss speaks about his partnership with Steve Holland, as assistant coach receives MBE


Gareth Southgate has paid tribute to his assistant coach Steve Holland, who was named on the New Year Honours List for 2022.
The England boss has worked alongside Holland since 2013, when Southgate was appointed as the men’s under-21s head coach and immediately brought in the then Chelsea first-team coach.
Since then their partnership, both on and off the training pitch, has flourished with the pair becoming almost inseparable and Holland became a full-time England Football staff member following Southgate's appointment as senior manager in 2016.
And Holland’s input into England’s development and improvement since then, and after what was a busy year for the men’s senior team in 2021, has seen him rewarded with an MBE for his services to Association Football.
“I met Steve for the first time when I visited Chelsea to watch some of the training, and I was there in a role in terms of trying to improve youth development at the FA,” revealed Southgate. 
“Andre Villas-Boas was the manager and I liked the way the coaching team there worked, I liked Steve’s ideas on the game and his approach to the coaching session. 
"And when I got the opportunity to take the U21s, I knew with his experience of young player development over a long period of time he would be the perfect person to come in and work with the U21s. 
“He’d just won a Champions League final with Chelsea, he’d won the league with Chelsea and he had a terrific background in youth development so tremendous experiences to pass on to the players. 
Southgate has worked closely with his trusted assistant Steve Holland since 2013
Southgate has worked closely with his trusted assistant Steve Holland since 2013
“We had a meeting at a hotel to talk about that possibility, thanks to Chelsea and Jose [Mourinho] at the time, who allowed him to come and do that.
“We developed an understanding and relationship that I think has been a huge friendship as well as a working relationship. 
“He’s someone I trust entirely, whose opinions and views on football are aligned with mine, whose values as a person are at a really high level and his attention to detail around doing the job are an example to any coach at any level. 
“I think he would be the most successful coach in English football or English coach, I can’t think of anyone else who has won the things he has won or had his experience at club and international level. He's a top operator. 
“Without his experiences, his approach, his thoughtfulness and the quality of his work, would we have had the journey we have had in the last five years with the seniors and the U21s?
“I hope he feels that I’m a manager that allows him the responsibility to do his job, that gives him trust and that is supportive when he needs me to be. 
“I think for any management team that balance of personality and experiences is really important.”

Holland began his coaching career at the age of 21...why not find out how you can kick-start your own coaching pathway with England Football?