Former England manager Sam Allardyce has hailed Gareth Southgate for the way he’s fostered a ‘brilliant’ team spirit in his squad.
Southgate replaced Allardyce as England head coach after a Daily Telegraph investigation into the former Bolton boss resulted in him resigning.
Southgate has since changed the culture in the Three Lions camp, introduced more young players, and led England to their first international final since 1966.
Allardyce told Good Morning Britain: “I think we all felt before we went into the tournament that the young squad that Gareth has got – not only the first XI but the strength and depth of his squad – was outstanding. And it’s proven to be the case.
“I think that what he’s done is managed 26 players exceptionally well, kept them all on the same path.
“The spirit is everything when you go into a tournament, into any football club. The team spirit of the players is brilliant, you can see that, the joy of being together. And I think that he’s used that squad to its full potential. He’s made changes nearly every game.
“And he’s got one thing that’s looking like it’s the solid base they can win this tournament on and that is a fantastic defensive record. Just one goal conceded in the whole tournament up to now – and that was a pretty good free-kick last night.”
Raheem Sterling was awarded a penalty after going down under minimal contact, and after Harry Kane’s penalty was saved by Kasper Schmeichel, the rebound fell fortunately to him to tuck home.
Allardyce added: “They (England) were the better side, they created more chances, they found it difficult to get the winning goal, of course, and then in the end – as always in any football match, a little bit of luck sometimes – with the penalty where it came back to Harry (Kane) to finish it off.
“We can all forget about that now, we’re in the final. It was a great night for everybody in England and I think that the whole country celebrated. And the millions and millions that watched it are going to look forward to Sunday now.”