England manager Gareth Southgate described the former Crewe Alexandra manager Steve Holland as a ‘legend of the game’ as they prepare the squad for the forthcoming World Cup in Russia. Holland, 48, has been Southgate’s trusted assistant since he replaced Sam Allardyce in November.
Holland, who managed Crewe Alexandra for 18 months before holding high profile coaching roles at Stoke City and Chelsea. He also assisted Southgate at England Under-21 level before following him into the senior set-up and leaving his role as Chelsea’s assistant manager.
Having worked with the likes of Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto Di Matteo, Rafa Benitez, Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink and Antonio Conte, Holland is one of the most experienced and qualified coaches in world football.
After announcing his 23-man squad, Southgate told the media: “In my view, Steve Holland is a legend. He has won the Champions League, Europa League, Premier League, FA Cup. He is the most experienced English coach in the country with his coaching background from developing young players’ right through to working with some of the best managers in the world.'
“He is a huge ally for me, a great sounding board, great confidante and friend
“Steve will challenge my thinking and speak his mind. He's been in the biggest matches possible, we have complete trust in each other and that is a critical relationship.
“I think Terry (Venables) had that with Don (Howe), who had also operated at the highest level and would challenge Terry and Terry would take that on board.
'Number two is the wrong phrase, we work together on everything. We share our ideas on players, and phone each other on the way home from games to compare, update and thrash around tactical suggestions.
'I trust his judgement and that trust is critical. He is an outstanding person to work with.'