The book Anything Is Possible by Gareth Southgate on an ombre blue-to-red background, next to a photo of Southgate celebrating.
The book Anything Is Possible by Gareth Southgate on an ombre blue-to-red background, next to a photo of Southgate celebrating.

Today, as the England manager, I aim to focus with my players on what we can do to the best of our abilities, instead of worrying about what might go wrong. This doesn’t just apply to football, but any goal we set ourselves – from passing an exam to literally shooting for the moon. Whether we’re making a fresh start or just trying to be better at something, we all face challenges.

Along the way in life, there will be high points and low moments. You might even question if you’ve made the right choices, and think about giving up. As difficult as it might be to recognise in those tough times, it’s all a learning experience that will benefit you in the long run.

It’s an honour to lead the England players; I have enjoyed every moment, and that includes the challenging times. I’m doing what I love, which is helping young players reach the top of their game, and my life would be poorer had I responded to a low point in my career by thinking it was the end of the road. No matter how bleak things become as we pursue our goals, even if it happens a number of times, we can always learn to move on and feel stronger. What’s more, that newfound resilience and determination to succeed can help us to climb higher than ever before.

An illustration imitating a football manager's strategy board, with blue arrows and red X's

So, after England play any game, we always carry out a review.

We look at areas in which we performed well, and those we can improve. In order to make it manageable, we break the match into different phases focusing on attacking and defending. The aim is to develop confidence from what we did well, along with a desire to improve the areas that could have been stronger. We’ll also look at match statistics so we can be analytical in our review and show clear pathways for improvement. This all helps in providing feedback to the players so they can assess their performance – not just as individuals, but as a team.

My aim is to encourage pride in what we did well, along with a desire to work on our game where we could be stronger. By breaking down the match into markers – or different areas – we are able to be analytical in our review and show clear pathways for improvement.

This way, whether we win or lose, it will always be a learning experience. Whatever the result, it provides us with a way forward, as long as everyone is open to feedback and is focused on playing as a team at the highest level. Should we lose, we aim to work out what went wrong so we can act on it constructively. The wins certainly breed energy and enthusiasm, but rather than sit back feeling satisfied, we see them as an opportunity to challenge ourselves a little more and keep pushing in terms of performance.

As well as reviewing the game we’ve just played, we’ll look ahead to the next one. This is key when we’re in a competition such as the European Championship or the World Cup. As a team, it’s important that we break our campaign into chunks. We might look at the group stage, for example, in which we face three opponents. We’ll look at what we need to achieve in the first match, while also keeping the other two in mind.

We want to win every game, of course, but often it’s a question of controlling the pressure we apply to the England team to make sure they deliver every time. This changes as matches take place, depending on how England and our competition fare. Do we need a win, a draw, or is it a question of goal difference? Then we’ll look at the strengths and weaknesses of the opponent and make sure our attitude to training is spot on, every session. By regularly reviewing all aspects of our game, we know exactly what’s required to move forward in what we hope will be our journey to lifting the trophy.

What did you think of this article? Let us know at for a chance to appear in our reader’s letter page.

Image: Alicia Fernandes/Penguin
Photo credit: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

  • Anything is Possible

  • THE INSPIRATIONAL BESTSELLER from the manager who transformed English football

    Fantastic ... I've told my son Noah, aged 11, you have to read this ... I can't tell you how much I loved it because it talks about confidence, and I struggled with confidence' CHRIS EVANS

    'I loved this - full of wonderful advice I can't wait to share with my children.' HOLLY WILLOUGHBY

    'Never puts a word wrong. Isn't Gareth Southgate simply the most inspiring leader in England?' KRISHNAN GURU-MURTHY

    'Gareth Southgate sticks out a mile in public life because he is thoughtful, intelligent, generous, courageous and humane.' SATHNAM SANGHERA

    England manager Gareth Southgate has spent his career inspiring young people to think positively and reach their best, from the England men's and Under-21 team to his work with the Prince's Trust.

    YOU have the potential to make ANYTHING POSSIBLE.

    In this hugely positive and helpful book for readers aged 12 and up, Gareth gives YOU the tools to be confident, resilient and to overcome your own challenges for your exciting journey ahead, wherever it takes you.

    Bravery is not just the kind of heroic act that earns a medal. It's the quality we need to step out of our comfort zones and take on new challenges.

    A force for good that comes from the heart, kindness changes lives. It opens up opportunities and can be our greatest strength.

    We all have a story to tell in life. It's down to us what it will be about. So, let's begin writing YOUR STORY - and make it one that truly shines.
    'Inspirational and honest - just like the man himself.' BEAR GRYLLS

    'An inspirational book' THE SUN

    'It really is a great book ... lots of really nice tips for confidence, staying strong, glass-half-full mentality, what makes a good team' CHRIS MOYLES

    'I feel that the lessons you're sharing, the wisdom that you're sharing, has relevance for all of us, whether football fans or non-football fans. And that's because these are some quite core lessons for life' DR RANGAN CHATTERJEE

    'Southgate's analytical mind is stamped across the pages of the book; his meticulousness, his love of clarity and process. He offers tips and life lessons - focus on what you can control, do not compare yourself with others, dare to try even if it means slipping up. The tone is easy, upbeat and the messages are drummed home gently, always linking to one another ... what shines through is the warmth and inclusivity of his leadership style.' THE GUARDIAN

  • Buy the book

Read more

We use cookies on this site to enable certain parts of the site to function and to collect information about your use of the site so that we can improve our visitors’ experience.

For more on our cookies and changing your settings click here

Strictly Necessary


Preferences & Features

Targeting / Advertising