3/24/2018 2:07:39 AM (GMT+3)

I was under no illusions as to the difficulty of the role: Southgate

I was under no illusions as to the difficulty of the role: Southgate

DOHA, Qatar: Gareth Southgate will make his World Cup debut as England coach this June. The former international, who came off a substitute in 1998 FIFA World Cup against Tunisia, said that leading England in the tournament is ‘special’.

“I guess I was fortunate having been the U-21 head coach and having played for England, I knew most of what the role was about,” Southgate told www.fifa.com.

On his coaching experience, he said, “I worked quite closely with Roy Hodgson. I saw a lot of the things that he had to deal with. I was under no illusions as to the difficulty of the role. I’m really enjoying it. It’s a great challenge.”

Southgate, who took charge of England in November, 2016, first joined as an interim coach following Sam Allardyce’s departure.

“It was an unusual circumstance. Both Roy and Sam were very good to me when they were in the position so it wasn’t exactly an opportunity I was looking for. When Sam left in October, really we had three days to prepare for a camp so there wasn’t a lot of time to think. I knew I was the person best placed to step in and keep the team on,” he added.  

England’s Group G opponents are Tunisia, Panama and Belgium.

“The great thing from our point of view is the experience of winning at a world level. That’s going to be great for confidence in our group,” said Southgate.

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