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Gareth Southgate on The Football Skills That Transfer to Life

by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee   /  December 16, 2020

Today’s guest joins me fresh from a run of autumn camps with the England football team. He’s their manager, Gareth Southgate OBE, and I speak to him about his new book, Anything Is Possible. It’s not really a football memoir, but more aguide to life and there are brilliant lessons for all of us in there – non-football fans included!

Gareth had an illustrious career as a professional football player in the 1990s and as England manager, took the England team to the semi-finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup for the first time in 28 years. We discuss how Gareth achieved this by employing psychologists (such as my former guest Pippa Grange), modelling emotional intelligence and communicating with each player as an individual. He promotes a mindset of positive drivers not negative drivers: focusing on what players might achieve, rather than what might go wrong. Most importantly, he reinstated a sense of fun. I love his humble, warm, inclusive approach. Under his watch, footballers have started to look more like role models again.

Gareth explains how he used to be a shy teenage player and with his book, he aims to help youngsters get over self-limiting beliefs, nerves and anxieties and learn to be brave – and he shares some great dressing-room stories with me as examples. It may be written for children and young people, with Gareth’s role as ambassador for The Prince’s Trust in mind, but it contains universal wisdom for all ages.

I had so much to ask him, and we managed to cover topics from how players cope without a crowd, to how he breaks the news when someone’s not made the team and the real meaning of bravery. We talk about the pressures on players from social media but also how it can be a force for good, helping Raheem Stirling and Marcus Rashford change attitudes and lives through their respective campaigns against racism and childhood hunger.

I can’t emphasize enough that you don’t need to be into football to appreciate this conversation. It’s about having confidence, working hard, taking responsibility and being authentic. It was such an honour to speak with Gareth and he’s certainly reignited my love of the beautiful game. I can’t help but agree with him that when we come together in a positive way over sport, it has the potential to change the world. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did.

Disclaimer: The content in the podcast and on this webpage is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.*

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Watch the video version of this interview – click below.

'Bravery doesn't always come naturally. It exists in all of us but we have to understand ourselves first.' Share on X

Connect with Gareth:

Website       Twitter  

Gareth’s book:

Anything Is Possible: Be Brave, Be Kind and Follow Your Dreams

Further Reading:

Related Feel Better Live More podcasts:

#73 Why You Are Stronger Than You Think with Ross Edgley

#126 How to Win at Life Without Losing Yourself with Dr Pippa Grange

Dr Chatterjee’s books and resources:


*DISCLAIMER: Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have heard on the podcast or on my website.

†Disclosure: All books marked with a † are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We take part in Amazon’s affiliate advertising program designed to provide a way for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon’s website. You are not charged any extra by using these links to purchase books.

Dr. Rangan Chatterjee MbChB, BSc (Hons), MRCP, MRCGP