When new England boss Gareth Southgate inspired Slyne pupils ahead of Wembley final
England fans will be hoping new boss Gareth Southgate has the same effect on the Three Lions as he did on a Slyne-with-Hest primary school.
The new national team manager visited Slyne-with-Hest St Luke’s School back in 2013 ahead of the youngsters playing in a big Wembley final.
The defender who made his name with Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough treated the pupils to a training session before taking questions and signing autographs.
The Slyne kids heeded the advice of the then ITV pundit as they represented Morecambe in the nPower Under 11s Kids Cup, beating Minterne Junior School 2-1 before the League Two play-off final between Northampton Town and Bradford City.
“We got this email saying Gareth Southgate was coming through and I had to read it two or three times just to check,” said deputy head David Atkinson at the time.
“He’s got right in there and mixed with the boys and he’s not just done it with the eight in the final, it’s been everybody.
“It’s just one thing after another and the whole experience has been a real buzz for everyone.”
Southgate, who has finally formally replaced Sam Allardyce after a four-game stint as interim boss, is no stranger to the Lancaster and Morecambe district having also been a keen observer at the Globe Arena in March 2011 when England’s Under 16s retained the Victory Shield with a 2-1 win over Scotland.
Manchester United defender Luke Shaw was amongst the youngsters to feature on the night.
Since then, Southgate has spent three years in charge of the Under-21s and is well versed with the England set-up and staff and has also worked extensively with many of the current squad, qualifications which have weighed heavier than his slender experience of club football – a solitary assignment at Middlesbrough that ended in relegation and dismissal.
The 46-year-old, who has signed a four-year contract having been the only candidate interviewed by the FA, is tasked with guiding England to success at the 2018 World Cup and 2020 European Championship.
“I am extremely proud to be appointed England manager. However, I’m also conscious that getting the job is one thing, now I want to do the job successfully,” he said.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with the players over these past four games and I think there’s huge potential.
“I’m determined to give everything I have to give the country a team that they’re proud of and one that they’re going to enjoy watching play and develop.
“For me, the hard work starts now.”