Published 11 October 2021 4 min read
England Men's Senior Team

'Gareth Southgate is an incredible person and manager'

Written by:

Frank Smith

Conor Coady reflects on UEFA Euro 2020 and discusses what makes the England boss different to the other managers he has played under

Conor Coady admits he still gets goosebumps when he talks about England’s run to the Euro 2020 Final and has described Gareth Southgate as an ‘incredible’ person and manager.

Coady was part of the first England men’s senior team squad to reach the final of a UEFA European Championships in the summer.

And despite the Three Lions just missing out on glory, the 28-year-old still has a real sense of pride when he looks back to the summer.

The Wolverhampton Wanderers captain took part in a question-and-answer session for the matchday programme for Tuesday night’s FIFA World Cup qualifier with Hungary and you can read some of his responses below.

What are your overriding emotions when you look back on the summer?

Pride. It would be pride now that it has finished and we have had a couple of months to look back at what we did and say it was an incredible achievement.

We believed so much that we could go and win it, especially after the Denmark game and then before the Italy game with the excitement and the feeling of confidence which was running through us while we were training – honest to God, it was incredible.

I look back on it now with pride, especially because of what the country has been through over the last couple of years and what we were able to do as a team in terms of bringing a smile to people’s faces. That was the biggest winner about the whole thing.

We obviously wanted to go and win it and I think it will be a big thing which will live on in the players’ minds for the rest of their lives but I think a big winner from it was the smile on people’s faces and the pride.

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What was the atmosphere like at Wembley for the players during those games, like the wins over Germany and Denmark?

That semi-final man. That semi-final. The Germany game was amazing and it will live with us forever. But the feeling after the Denmark game when we were all on the pitch, with our arms around each other singing Sweet Caroline, honestly mate, that will stay with me forever – that picture in my head of us all in front of our families. 

Obviously we hadn’t seen our families for five or six weeks and we could only see them from a distance when they were sat in the stands at games so that was the only time we saw them. So to win that semi-final and take our country to a first final since 1966, it is giving me goosebumps now.

To take our country through to the first final since ’66 and that feeling of being on the pitch in front of our families, in front of our fans, in front of our nation, it was something which will live with me forever honestly. It was amazing.

Conor Coady has become an integral part of the England squad
Conor Coady has become an integral part of the England squad

You have played under several managers, what makes Gareth Southgate different to the others?

How open he is. You can literally sit here and have a conversation with him and you will feel at home straight away. 

In terms of how he speaks to the players, his staff, everybody who works at St. George’s and Wembley Stadium and everybody he comes across, he is an incredible person in terms of how he speaks to people.

On the training pitch when Steve (Holland) or the gaffer are taking the sessions, the way they go about trying to improve you as a player, it is brilliant and the most important thing when we come here is the team and making sure we are improving as a team and you can really see that every single time you come.

I think how he sets up the environment when we come is a real credit to him and his staff. He is an incredible manager.