The Real Gareth Southgate: Former Teammate George Boateng on How the England Manager Is Behind the Scenes and His Hopes for Middlesbrough This Season

5 min read

George Boateng on Gareth Southgate

Head coach Gareth Southgate of England looks on prior to the UEFA EURO 2024 final soccer match between Spain and England, in Berlin, Germany, 14 July 2024 (reissued 16 July 2024). EFE/EPA/FILIP SINGER

In an exclusive interview with Responsible Gambling, George Boateng, former Middlesbrough captain and teammate of Gareth Southgate, provides an insider's perspective on the England manager's playing days, his character, and his potential as a coach. Boateng also shares his expectations for Middlesbrough in the upcoming season.

Southgate's Playing Days and Potential Move to Chelsea

Boateng, who first played with Southgate at Aston Villa before spending six years together at Middlesbrough, highlights Southgate's qualities both on and off the pitch. He describes Southgate as a fantastic human being and a knowledgeable player who was highly respected by his teammates. Not many people are aware that Southgate almost joined Chelsea during his prime, as Boateng reveals:

"Chelsea, when they were about rising, wanted to sign Gareth Southgate as their main center-back before John Terry broke through."

Boateng reflects on their partnership on the field, noting how he felt secure playing as a holding midfielder with Southgate behind him, and vice versa. Their strong connection extended beyond the pitch, as they remain in regular contact to this day.

Leadership Qualities and Managerial Potential

Boateng and Southgate

Credit: REX

From early on, Boateng saw leadership potential in Southgate. During their time together at Middlesbrough, Southgate matured into a good leader and eventually became the team captain. Boateng explains:

"At Aston Villa, we were both young, but in Middlesbrough, we were together for six years. You could see that he was maturing and becoming a good leader as a captain."

Boateng further elaborates on how some players show leadership qualities from day one, while others develop them over time. In Southgate's case, Boateng knew he would become a successful manager, especially during their time at Middlesbrough.

The Lighter Side of Southgate

While Southgate is known for his professionalism, Boateng shares that there is a humorous and personable side to him that the public rarely sees. The nickname "Nord" was given to Southgate due to his precise way of speaking and his grey Hush Puppies, reminiscent of TV presenter Denis Norden. Boateng fondly remembers Southgate as a responsible, funny, and happy individual who enjoys joking around, contrary to his serious public persona.

England's Tournament Performance

Reflecting on England's recent 1-0 win over Serbia, Boateng addresses the ongoing debates about the team's quality and the performance of the technical team. He emphasizes the importance of securing wins in major tournaments, even if the performances are not always spectacular:

"When you’re in a tournament, it's always about qualifying. You first try and get out of the group as soon as you can. Once you get out of the group, now you take every game step by step."

Boateng acknowledges the challenges teams face in tournaments, such as loss of form, suspensions, and injuries, and stresses that the key is to progress through the group stage to increase the chances of winning the tournament.

Hopes for Middlesbrough

middlesbrough-fc

Credit: Sky Sports

As a fan of the Championship and a former player for Middlesbrough, Boateng expresses his hopes for the club's future under manager Michael Carrick. He praises Carrick's leadership and the support from owner Steve Gibson, highlighting the importance of stability and loyalty in achieving success. Boateng is optimistic about Middlesbrough's prospects and believes they are getting closer to securing a place in the Premier League:

"The team is building, and they are getting closer every year. Maybe this season they will get there, but it's a very competitive league."

Boateng concludes by expressing his admiration for the club's efforts and his belief that with continued support and dedication, Middlesbrough can achieve their goals in the near future.

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