Gareth Southgate has been on a virtual tour to promote his new book.
Southgate has deliberately steered clear of the traditional football media while talking about Anything Is Possible which is more about management techniques than dressing room secrets.
England boss Southgate has been on TV, BBC 5Live and Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place podcast to promote the book which is very admirably donating all proceeds to the Princes Trust charity.
It has already topped the Amazon book charts and was done with the full blessing of the Football Association and shies away from a traditional autobiography which he has sort of done already and has admitted that he partly regrets.
But Southgate’s comments on the podcast were particularly interesting – especially on mental health, wellbeing and social media. He also said that he saw a psychologist “which was unusual at that time” in the wake of his penalty miss after Euro 96.
Southgate said: “I’m fully aware of it (social media) but I don’t go there any time we have matches coming up because it would fill my head with negativity.
“I do worry about younger players who scroll down through the comments, particularly after games.
“I don’t get the balance right, even now. The brain is loaded with more negative comments than anything else. If I’ve slept well then I can cope with just about anything. I’m not someone who meditates but I can totally see the value of that.”
The Champions League is set for a major shake-up by 2024 – but is a long, long way from anything being resolved.
Clubs are in favour of a Swiss model which would serve up regular games between Europe’s biggest teams and yet UEFA have not made a formal presentation and will first have to go through a period of consultation.
If fans can get their heads round change then the Swiss model – ten games against different opponents rather than six in a Group which can be stale by the final two match days – will be fresh and more exciting.
But the biggest issue might not be the format of the competition but who actually governs it with UEFA keen to take charge as a commercial entity rather than being the running it.
The clubs are taking the financial risk, they have suffered financially through the pandemic and will want a major say which is still some way from happening.
Watch this space – but there has been little movement to suggest anything is remotely close to being agreed.
Bamba the boss
Sol Bamba is the latest highly-respected player to look to move into management.
Cardiff defender Bamba, 35, has already taken his UEFA B Licence, is taking his A Licence and his wide-ranging career has helped him speak four different languages with Italian, French, Turkish and English.
Ivory Coast international Bamba has played under the likes of Neil Warnock, had a spell at Leeds, played in the Premier League with Cardiff and is still hugely respected at the club.
There has been a real move towards young managers, recently retired players getting a chance with the likes of Frank Lampard, John Terry coaching at Aston Villa and Wayne Rooney at Derby.
Do not rule out Bamba from doing the same as he is savvy enough and well liked by players to make the step up into management and follow a newly established path for the next generation of bosses.
World Cup draw
England could still get a Group of five in Monday’s World Cup draw – but will still end up playing as many games.
There will be five qualifying Groups of five teams and five Groups of six teams as originally the FA thought reaching the Nations League finals was the only way to avoid being in a bigger Group.
However, there will be one “spare” Group with just five teams.
But there is a catch – even if England get a group of five, UEFA will insist that they play two friendlies to make up the number of games as European football’s governing body now run a centralised pot.
Even friendlies can be worth up to £3m-a-game but it is not the FA who should take the blame for organising friendlies… but UEFA for insisting upon them. The World cup qualifiers start with a treble header in March.
Man Utd keeper moves
Manchester United are shaking up their goalkeeping department with two legends being at the forefront.
Tony Coton will be the senior scout for goalkeepers and Tony Parks will be working with the keepers across all the academy levels.
Chelsea are charging a range of prices for fans to get back into Stamford Bridge on Saturday to watch the Leeds game.
Non-corporates have been balloted at £75 and £40 but some posh seats in the East Middle Stand – normally reserved for execs who normally enjoy a meal and corporate hospitality with their football – are available at £470.
Quite a few clubs are offering similar deals for wealthier corporate fans who will be able to sit and have a meal, drinks and watch the game.
Preston striker Louis Moult has become another of football’s unsung heroes after helping to raise £100,000 towards buying a house for a homeless charity.
Moult, 28, took part in the sponsored Big PNE Sleep Out at Deepdale a year ago and they made enough money to buy the Foxton charity a house in Preston.
Moult said: “To raise £100,000 is incredible. I don’t think anyone expected us to reach that. The idea was to raise around £60,000 for the house and to raise £100,000 just speaks volumes for everyone at the football club and in the community.
BT Sport has launched a 4-3-3 campaign for the International Day of People with Disabilities.
It is designed to back the four Home Nations, three areas in need of support – grassroots, women’s and disability football – with three commitments to improving skills, raising profiles and enabling innovation.
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