Every word of Gary Neville's weeks-old Gareth Southgate praise has been proven right 6 months ago

Every word of Gary Neville's weeks-old Gareth Southgate praise has been proven right

Maybe everyone should've just listened to Gary

It feels like a lifetime ago now, but England began their quest for Euro 2020 only three weeks ago.

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A lot has happened in the time since, but as the tournament enters its final week, the Three Lions have roared into the semi-finals and are just two wins away from ending their long wait for major tournament success.

Gareth Southgate's stock has risen considerably as a result. Despite all the criticism of his team selections - his reluctance to start Jadon Sancho and Jack Grealish; playing Kieran Trippier at left-back; the faith he showed in a misfiring Harry Kane - there is a wide acceptance now that the man does actually know what he's doing after all.

Perhaps those hurling the stones should have listened a little more carefully to Gary Neville's assessment of Southgate after the opening day win over Croatia?

England beat the World Cup finalists by a single Raheem Sterling goal at Wembley. The buildup to that game was dominated by intense debate over Southgate's team selection.

Neville defended his former international teammate while on punditry duty for ITV after the game, drawing criticism from some supporters at the time. His support might have looked misplaced when England went and drew 0-0 in their next outing against Scotland, but as the widely shared tweet below shows, three weeks on, every word of it is true.

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Neville admits that he was shocked by Trippier's inclusion at left-back, but explained that he always had faith in Southgate.

"I wasn't shocked in a doubting way because I don't doubt the manager," Southgate said. "I think we've got an outstanding international manager who's got unbelievable experience.

"I don't think there'd be one other person out of the 65million English population that would've picked that team today.

"There were a lot of things that I would've said would've gone against England today: 2 o'clock kick-off, hot, playing against a team that, to be fair, passed us off the park in the last tournament. They're an experienced team, he [Southgate] didn't have his best defender going into the game, he wasn't playing his best team going into the game.

"I thought he managed that game unbelievably today. We talk about the best player being Kalvin Phillips or Raheem Sterling, but out best asset is our manager.

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"The clamour in past years would be to go for Grealish; he's not even brought him off the bench and he's made substitutions as well.

"So he's willing to make unpopular decisions, the decisions that ultimately, some of us don't think he should make.

"He knows that group better than anyone. He knows how to get a performance and a result better than anyone.

"He's had 85-90 games with England now. He's vastly experienced and I feel really comfortable with him there as an English fan with him there as the manager. What he did today was really good."

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