Gareth Southgate during the England training session at St George's Park on July 10, 2021
Credit: Eddie Keogh
Gareth Southgate is set for a knighthood after leading England to their historic achievements at the Euros.
The England manager has been praised for “putting a smile on all our faces” by taking the team to their first major final in 55 years.
It is predicted that he is now in line to become Sir Gareth, with other players on his team also tipped to receive honours.
MPs and a former sports minister said on Sunday night that the accolade should not be dependent on the final, but because of his track record and everything that he has done for sport.
Southgate, who transformed the team from a laughing stock to world leaders in the space of five years, is expected to be deemed worthy of the honour for bringing the country together at a time of national crisis.
Julian Knight, the Tory chairman of the digital, culture, media and sport select committee, called for Southgate to become “Sir Gareth”.
The MP told The Telegraph: “I think his classy character and [the] way he has handled himself as a player and coach is worthy of a knighthood, his team have put a smile on all our faces.”
The calls were backed by fans on social media, who even started a petition calling for him to be made a Sir.
Lily Cortese, a fan, joked: “Forget giving Gareth Southgate a Knighthood, let’s go straight to canonisation, Saint Gareth. What a guy.”
Boris Johnson hinted that he would back the decision when England secured their spot in the final, saying that he did not want to “anticipate anything that the honours people may decide. But clearly I think Gareth Southgate has done an absolutely outstanding job.”
In a letter to Southgate in the hours before the game, the Prime Minister added that he had “already made history” and had “lifted the spirits of the whole country”.
Mr Johnson is facing calls to step in and ensure that he gets the honour regardless of the match against Italy.
He previously intervened to ensure that Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton was knighted in the New Year’s Honours despite his controversial status as a tax exile.
Gerry Sutcliffe, the former sports minister, said: “Gareth Southgate should be knighted whatever the result. The power of sport to enthuse everybody is well known and I think that he has done that through his attitude, the way that he has behaved and the way that the team has performed.
“Boris Johnson should step in and ensure that he gets it whatever happens, there has been a precedent set in the past for him doing that.
“This isn’t just about the Euros, Southgate has got a good track record, if you look at the way he managed the under 21s for example, and I think he deserves to be honoured for his overall performance. It sends out a strong, positive message about sport in the UK.”
The only other England managers to have received the honour were Alf Ramsey, for winning the World Cup in 1966, and Bobby Robson, who took England to the 1990 semi final.
A life-size cutout of England's manager Southgate is held aloft as supporters gather in Piccadilly Circus ahead of the final
Credit: Tolga Akmen/AFP
Southgate was made an OBE in 2019 after becoming the first man since Robson to lead England to a World Cup semi final, while Harry Kane, the England captain, was awarded an MBE for winning the Golden Boot at the 2018 tournament.
He and Raheem Sterling – who has received an MBE for services to racial equality – are also in line for upgrades, it is expected.
Marcus Rashford, who received an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his campaigning charity work, could also get a further honour.
The awards are decided twice a year by the Cabinet Office and announced at New Year and on The Queen’s official birthday in June.