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Paul Gascoigne has spoken of his pride in his old team-mate Gareth Southgate and his young England Euro 2020 team.
Gazza, 54, is backing the latest generation of stars, including Man City’s 21-year-old sensation Phil Foden, to set the tournament alight.
Sporting his throwback “Euro 96” hairdo in tribute to Foden’s own new look, Gazza told the Mirror: “I am really proud of Gareth, and what he has achieved.
“In my stage show I always say, ‘At Euro 96, I scored my penalty, and I end up in rehab, and he misses, yet gets the England job and a pizza advert – where did I go wrong?’
“He is so lucky because he has so many great young players.”
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Left-to-right, top-to-bottom, Paul Gascoigne, Gareth Southgate, David Seaman, Sol Campbell, Tony Adams, Graeme Le Saux, David Batty, Ian Wright, Paul Ince and Teddy Sheringham England team before World Cup Qualifier against Italy in Rome
(Image: Press Association)
Gazza said he spoke to Southgate in 2019, three years after he became England manager. Gazza said: “I wish him all the very best.”
He credits Southgate’s rapport with his young stars for their success.
He said: “He is a cracking manager. He is a different class, he has them playing really well.”
He believes Foden, Marcus Rashford, 23, and Jack Grealish, 25, will shine, and urged them to take risks in the big games.
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He said: “Take people on. Like I did. Don’t always go for the easy pass.”
In Euro 96, Gazza scored with a volley after flicking the ball over Scotland defender Colin Hendry.
Gazza lay down on the pitch while team-mates fired jets of water down his throat – an in-joke about a boozy session in a dentist’s chair on the pre-tournament tour.
England's Gareth Southgate is a 'cracking manager' says his old pal Gazza
(Image: AFP/Getty Images)
He said: “This week takes me back to Euro 96. Even now people want to stop and tell me about it, they never seem to forget.
“I have some great memories of that summer. I hope they win it. It would be the first trophy since 1966. That would be some achievement.”
He advises today’s stars to “switch off” in their revamped HQ at St George’s Park in Burton upon Trent, Staffs.
Gazza was a star in Euro 96
(Image: Getty Images)
Gazza hugs Gareth after he missed the penalty that knocked England out of Euro 96
Southgate has placed family photos in the rooms, and the players were greeted by new portraits when they arrived for their first day on Tuesday.
Gazza recalled: “Under Bobby Robson at Italia 90, we did not read the papers, we avoided the TV, and it worked.
We just focussed on the games. I think Gareth should play the old World in Motion song, We’re playing for England.
“That will get them going. I really think they will do well.”
Southgate spoke of his pride in his Euro 2020 team in a letter, published in the Mirror today.
He said: “This is a special group.”