Nizhny Novgorod: It's the eve of the match between England and Panama and the pre-match conferences are mandatory. On Saturday, England manager Gareth Southgate and midfielder Jordan Henderson addressed the media for half an hour with a smile on their face, crafting their words carefully, planting a bit of humour here and there as they do the media duty.
Once you come out of the press conference room, you can only hear good words being spoken about the gaffer for the manner in which he conducts himself in a presser. "One should show his press conference to the politicians, he's never nervous, humorous, on point, brilliant guy," the British media heaped praise on their manager walking out of a press conference room in Nizhny Novgorod.
Earlier in the week, a sheet of paper with a name of players on it was published by British Media as the sheet was seen being carried around by Southgate's assistant Steve Holland.
Southgate explained that sheet was just a squad list and asked media to choose whether they are with the team or not. When asked about the same on Saturday, he further elaborated on the topic.
“I made quite a balanced observation yesterday which, I’m told, has gathered quite a bit of momentum," said the 47-year-old coach.
“My view is I totally understand the media have a role to report the news. My only observation, which I probably haven’t worded properly, is that it’s definitely an advantage for us or the opposition if you know the tactics of the other team," he added.
“That was the only question I was asking. From our point of view, I don’t expect the media to be supporters of us in terms of the way they work. They’re here to work. I know they want us to do well. That’s been clear through the tournament," former England international added.
He further added that there was no drama and he was totally relaxed about the fact that England playing XI was well known to the World three days before the start of the tournament, before adding that the team sheet that was published was just a squad list and other details.
"Everyone is away from weeks. For all of us, players, staff, journalists, that’s a difficult environment to be in. The guys have to find stories and produce content. We have to get results. We’re all living in a slightly false thing...like when you go on holiday with your family," he further added sending a wave of laughter in the press conference room before signing off.
As you further read about the England manager, one realises that he is the manager that England loves as they hope that he is the right man to take them to the glory. But firstly, they have to take on debutantes Panama at the picturesque Nizhny Novgorod Stadium and getting past them shouldn't really be a problem for Southgate and his men.