New England manager Gareth Southgate credits his former Crawley PE teachers for his rise through the football ranks.
The former Aston Villa and Middlesbrough defender was handed the reins for the country’s top job on a four-year deal which includes the 2018 World Cup and 2020 European Championships last week.
Southgate, 46, took over as caretaker after Sam Allardyce’s departure after only 67 days in charge overseeing two wins and two draws an interim boss.
The former England under-21s manager grew up in Crawley and went to Pound Hill Juniors and Hazelwick.
He credits his schoolboys days as playing a huge part in his rise in the game and praised his teachers for ‘igniting that fire.’
Speaking about his two local schools to The Independent two years ago, Southgate said: “Both were really fundamental in me taking up the game because both had key PE teachers who really drove things. Mr Crips ran the football team at Pound Hill.
“Then at Hazelwick Dave Palmer and Steve Avory who now runs the Academy at Charlton Athletic.
“School football was stronger than it is now but my teachers also kept encouraging me while I was progressing through the youth system away from them at Southampton as well.
“I loved playing for the school and I used to live for PE lessons. We never quite managed any cups or anything like that but I just appreciate all the time I spent back then with PE teachers who took time out to ignite that fire in a kid.
“My parents kept me focused on school work and that was very important. I got eight O-Levels and I don’t know how much better it would have been without football training. I think the balance of sport was a nice release to be honest.”
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