Old friend Neil Maddison praises Gareth Southgate’s man-management skills

Old friend Neil Maddison has praised Gareth Southgate’s man-management after watching him guide England into the semi-finals of Euro 2020.

Former Middlesbrough midfielder Maddison took his coaching badges alongside Southgate and has been hugely impressed with how he has moulded his squad into one which powered its way into the last four with an impressive 4-0 victory over Ukraine in Rome on Saturday evening.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I just think his decisions have been really good. No one expected Jadon Sancho to start – I didn’t expect him to start – but what a brave decision it was, and it was the correct decision.

“I just think he’s got a group of players that are going to work hard for him and they understand him.

Jadon Sancho was handed his first start of the competition in the 4-0 win over Ukraine
Jadon Sancho was handed his first start of the competition in the 4-0 win over Ukraine (Marco Iacobucci/PA)

“He was a player and he understands how players want to be treated and they understand what they’re going to give back to the manager, and you can see it on the pitch. They were just ready for it.”

England will now face Denmark at Wembley on Wednesday evening with the prize of a return for the final four days later up for grabs having laid down a significant marker.

Maddison said: “They just got on with their job, they did it to the best of their ability and for me, it was one of the stand-out performances of an international side that I’ve seen in a long time.

“Now we find ourselves in a major competition in the semi-finals at home at Wembley, 60,000 fans there. Roll on Wednesday.”