5 reasons why Gareth Southgate has been a huge success as England manager

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England booked their place in the Euro 2024 semi-finals with a 5-3 penalty shootout win over Switzerland on Saturday in a match that marked 100 games in charge for Gareth Southgate.

The 53-year-old is just the third man to reach a century of games in charge of the Three Lions, alongside Walter Winterbottom (1946-1962) and World Cup-winning manager Alf Ramsey (1963-1974).

Despite some incredible achievements at the helm, Southgate continues to come under intense scrutiny from fans and pundits alike, with many insisting England’s performance at this summer’s tournament will define his legacy.

But surely, regardless of what happens from this point, Southgate’s time in charge of his country can only be defined as a major success.

Here are five stats that prove that argument.

1. A remarkable century

Gareth Southgate has transformed England.

As mentioned, Saturday’s win over the Swiss was Southgate’s 100th match in charge of the senior national team. His record across that span is, frankly, remarkable.

The former Aston Villa and Middlesbrough defender has won 60% of those games while losing just 16 times.

Southgate’s win rate is fourth all-time among England managers to oversee more than one game — sorry Sam Allardyce, but we’re not considering you. Among the seven managers to surpass half a century of games in charge, only Alf Ramsey (61.1%) boasts a better win rate.

Below him on that list are the likes of Bobby Robson (49.5%) and Sven-Goran Eriksson (59.7%).

2. Going deep

England vs Slovakia

From the period after the 1966 World Cup triumph until Euro 2016 — and not including four-team European Championships — England reached two semi-finals and zero finals in 17 major tournament (World Cup and Euros) appearances, while they also failed to even qualify on seven occasions.

In the Gareth Southgate era since then, the Three Lions have now reached three major semi-finals and at least one final with another on the cards in four attempts, with their worst performance in the 2022 World Cup quarter-finals.

Throw into that a bronze medal at the 2018/19 Uefa Nations League — making it out of a group containing Spain and Croatia — and you have the tournament record of an international footballing powerhouse, even if a title is still missing.

England’s defeat to Iceland in 2016 was one of the lowest points in national team history. For Southgate to pick the Three Lions up and turn them into genuine contenders on a consistent basis is quite simply an incredible achievement, second only to Ramsey’s 1966 heroics.

Southgate is the only England manager to ever reach a European Championship final and if they beat the Netherlands on Wednesday, he’ll be the first to guide them to two separate major finals.

It’s amazing to think there is now a generation of young England fans who think this is completely normal.

3. Penalty shootout record

Jordan Pickford celebrates after winning the UEFA Euro 2024 quarter-final football match between England and Switzerland at the Duesseldorf Arena in Duesseldorf on July 6, 2024.

England’s penalty shootout record at major tournaments before Southgate took over stood at six defeats from seven attempts.

Germany in 1990 and 1996. Argentina in 1998. Portugal in 2004 and 2006. Italy in 2012.

So many of us have suffered that familiar heartbreak over and over again.

But don’t ever let anyone tell you that penalties are down to luck. In fact, one of the key features of the Southgate era has been him flipping the narrative from the spot.

From breathing techniques to picking the right players in the right order, Southgate has gone to great lengths to give his players the best chance possible from 12 yards.

The result? England have now won three of their four shootouts at tournaments when factoring in the Nations League.

It’s not always gone right and that loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final still hurts to this day, but there’s no doubt players can now step up to the spot in an England shirt full of confidence, knowing nothing has been left to chance.

Jordan Pickford has saved at least one spot-kick in each of the four shootouts he’s been a part of, while the 100% return against Switzerland was the first time England have ever been perfect in a major tournament shootout.

4. Knockout wins

Gareth Southgate following England’s 0-0 draw vs Slovenia – (Photo by Richard Pelham/Getty Images)

Between 1966 (post-World Cup) and 2016, England won just six knockout matches at major tournaments and just one at the European Championships.

In the six years under Southgate, the Three Lions have eclipsed that figure to win eight knockout matches, including five at the European Championships.

What’s more, of those previous six knockout wins, only three of them came away from English soil. Under Southgate, the Three Lions have won six knockout matches abroad — more than double all previous England managers combined.

5. Unbeaten at the Euros in normal time

england slovakia celebrations

1996 aside, the European Championships had previously offered nothing more than misery and pain for England supporters, with the 2016 loss to Iceland as bad as it gets.

Under Southgate, it’s been a story of success and memorable nights.

Discounting penalty shootouts, Southgate’s record in 12 Euros matches to date stands at seven wins, five draws and zero defeats, with 16 goals scored and just five conceded. That win column is absolutely bonkers when you consider it accounts for 46.66% of England’s all-time wins at this competition.

The football hasn’t always been pretty, even Southgate himself can admit that. But there’s no doubt he’s turned England into a major European force.

What matters more, beautiful football or winning football?

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