Gareth Southgate: England are better prepared for Euro 2020 semi-final against Denmark than 2018 World Cup

Gareth Southgate Credit: ITV News

There’s a photoshopped image doing the rounds on social media of Gareth Southgate, the now England manager, consoling a younger version of himself just after he missed the penalty that led to England crashing out of Euro ‘96.

It is how the British public sees him, a compassionate and caring counsellor.

"Well there's no question the things that you go through in life shape your character and the way that you want to deal with people," Southgate told ITV News.

"Of course, I was fortunate enough to have an international career over nine years, so those tournament experiences especially give you a good insight into not only what worked well within our team but other teams and other nations as well.

"You can see what brought success and you can see where teams struggled."

Gareth Southgate on why being England manager is a "bit like being a parent" and how his international career helped shape the manager he has become

He is unconditionally supportive of his players, it doesn’t matter whether they’re crucial to his team, on the fringes of the squad or if they’re asking for his public backing as they continue to take the knee before games.

He has changed the culture of Team England since he took charge and both reputations and results have improved as a by-product.

Southgate has a remarkable set of human beings in his St George’s Park stable who have been influential on significant issues way beyond football - Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson are just three who have shaped the public conversation in the past 18 months.

It is something England, and particularly Southgate, can be proud of.

Before the Russia World Cup he encouraged his squad to tell their stories and to reveal more about what mattered to them.

Many did, and the consequence of that was the England team reconnecting with the nation's fans.

But first and foremost Gareth Southgate is paid to win football matches and he has done that too.

Wednesday’s semi-final will be his second in succession after Russia 2018.

Only Sir Alf Ramsey has managed that, and if he can overcome Denmark, Southgate will stand alone as the only manager in history to have taken England to a Euros final.

England manager Gareth Southgate became a fashion icon during the World Cup. Credit: PA

Gareth Southgate says being England manager is a "bit like being a parent".

He says: "It's what it means to the country, really.

"I think if you're a coach, it's a bit like being a parent.

"You've gone past the moment when it's about you, and it's about what you pass onto others.

"And when you're the England manager you have the opportunity to bring happiness to so many millions of people.

"You have the opportunity to do the opposite as well, by the way, but you do have the opportunity to make people create memories and most importantly for your players to try to create the best version of them as a group and the best of them individually that they can hope to have."

England v Denmark: What you need to know about the Euro 2020 semi-final

When is the match happening?

The Euro 2020 semi-final kicks off at 8pm on Wednesday 7 July at Wembley Stadium.

Can I get a ticket?

The FA has said the England Supporters Travel club will have an allocation of nearly 8,500 tickets for the game, with remaining tickets going on sale to those who applied for tickets in the original ticket application process in 2019 but did not choose to return them or requested a refund. Otherwise, it looks like there isn't another way to get tickets - all tickets for the games are sold via the Uefa ticket portal and both England's semi-final and the final are marked as sold out.

Where can I watch the game on TV or online?

The game will be broadcast on ITV, with coverage starting from 6.30pm. It will also be available to stream online on the ITV Hub (for viewers in the UK only).

When is the final?

The Euro 2020 final will take place at Wembley on Sunday 11 July at 8pm.

But he hasn’t done that just by being collegiate.

He’s broken down those destructive club cliques that so undermined England before he arrived and he’s not scared of making the tough decisions.

His first team selection at these Championships was widely lambasted, "#southgateout" was even trending on social media before England had even kicked a ball.

I suspect all those accounts are saying something completely different now.

The reality is Gareth Southgate has turned the national embarrassment that was England after the Iceland debacle in 2016 into a last four team at two successive tournaments.

Beaten at the semi final stage in Russia – Gareth Southgate says this squad, this time round is better prepared.

Gareth Southgate on why England are better prepared than in Russia 2018

"We've had another two semi-finals prior to this one and although that doesn't determine winning or losing a game of football, there are a lot of factors that we aware of and we have dealt with before that help you to prepare in a better way," Southgate says.

"For example after the game in Rome the celebrations were at a certain level, where probably in Russia to get through the first knock out game to get to the quarter-final, took a lot of emotional energy." England fans have fallen back in love with the players and whatever happens on Wednesday night, Southgate and his team has given a long-suffering, pandemic weary nation something to smile about.

Long may it continue.

Watch England v Denmark live on ITV and ITV Hub on Wednesday 7 July - coverage begins from 6.30pm, kick off at 8pm