Gareth Southgate on how Sir Bobby Charlton is still inspiring the England team

Gareth Southgate showed his squad a video highlighting Sir Bobby Charlton's greatest moments. Credit: PA Images

Footage of Sir Bobby Charlton was shown to the England squad ahead of their match against Malta.

England Football Manager Gareth Southgate showed his team some of the highlights of Sir Bobby's career, as they get ready to pay tribute to the World Cup winner in a pre-match ceremony on 17 November.

Players, managers, and fans from across the country have been paying tribute to Sir Bobby Charlton since he died at the age of 86 on 21 October.

In their first match since his death, the England squad will be wearing black armbands in memory of the Manchester United legend.

Gareth Southgate said: "We showed some footage of Sir Bobby to the players, the first day we arrived.

“A reminder that, of course, even a Liverpool man like Trent Alexander-Arnold next to me, given Bobby’s performances with England can relate to his importance for English football."

Gareth Southgate at Sir Bobby Charlton's funeral Credit: PA Images

Southgate said: “A big part of what we’ve wanted to do with our players is to talk about our identity as a team.

“Part of that is knowing the history of our team and having an understanding of how special some of the players that have been England internationals before are.

"We've had the chance to do that this week."

He hopes the England squad can also learn from how Sir Bobby was able to manage his career with the England team and still remain committed to his club, Manchester United.

Gareth Southgate said: "You can have a fabulous club career and an international career.

“At times those things can come into conflict because club managers of course have got to look after their own roles and responsibilities, and that can put players in difficult positions with all international teams, frankly.

“But your international team will always be there as well and if you can win something with your international team, it’s probably bigger than anything else you’re going to experience."

On Monday 13 November, Sir Bobby's funeral was attended by friends, family, and footballing legends. Among them were Sir Alex Ferguson, Gary Lineker, and Prince William.

Southgate also attended the funeral, and during his time as England Manager he has worked to underline the importance of Sir Bobby Charlton's legacy as a player.

In 2017, Southgate renamed England's training pitch at St George's Park in Sir Bobby's honour.

England's official training pitch was renamed after Sir Bobby Charlton in 2017 Credit: PA Images

After the memorial, England take on Malta in a Euro 2024 qualifier match at Wembley stadium.

Southgate says he is still prepared for criticism regardless of his years as manager.

He said: "Well, the reality of that is however well we play tomorrow people will just say it’s a lower ranked opponent, so it’ll be irrelevant.

“In the end, it will be what it is. So, I’ll just let our results and performances speak for themselves.

“You’re never going to please everybody, so the best way as a football manager is keep winning matches, frankly.” 

England heads into their final home match of 2023 in a strong position, having won all three of their qualifying matches and guaranteed a qualifying place.

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