Eddie Jones says Gareth Southgate ‘will know what to do’ in Euro 2020 final

England’s rugby team lost the World Cup final in 2019 but Jones hopes the football team can go one better.

Nick Purewal
Thursday 08 July 2021 14:17
Fans celebrate England's win over Denmark in Trafalgar Square

Eddie Jones believes “humble, curious” Gareth Southgate will have the perfect plan for England’s Euro 2020 final against Italy.

England rugby head coach Jones has struck up a strong relationship with his football counterpart Southgate, and hailed the Three Lions boss for his history-making exploits.

England will take on Italy at Wembley on Sunday, in their first major tournament final since 1966 – and Jones has no doubts Southgate will have his players fully prepped.

“Gareth’s a humble, curious, very well-educated coach,” said Jones.

“The thing that impresses me is that for a young coach, he carries himself in the way of someone with a lot more experience.

“And he’ll know what to do. He doesn’t need any advice from me.”

England defeated Denmark 2-1 after extra time in Wednesday’s semi-final in front of a raucous Wembley, with Harry Kane netting the winner.

Raheem Sterling, Kane and the likes of Kyle Walker all excelled, as England reached their first European Championship final.

Now Southgate and company must gear up to face Roberto Mancini’s in-form and much-fancied Italy on Sunday, with the title on the line.

Gareth's a humble, curious, very well-educated coach

Eddie Jones

Vastly-experienced Australian coach Jones steered England to the 2019 World Cup final, only for South Africa to prevail 32-12 in Japan.

England defeated two-time defending champions New Zealand 19-7 in the semi-finals, in a stunning victory that Jones’ men could not repeat in the final.

Southgate’s England clearly expended a glut of emotion during their tense victory over Denmark – but Jones has few concerns about the toll that could take on Sunday’s final.

“We’d just like to congratulate Gareth and the football for their great result,” said Jones.

“We all watched with a lot of interest, and with some intense barracking.

“It was great fun and it’s obviously given the country a lot to cheer about, so we wish them all the best for the final, and hope they go one better than we did.”

Jones and Southgate have spoken regularly since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the England rugby chief always looking to pick the brains of fellow top coaches.

The 61-year-old revealed he has borrowed England’s light-hearted approach to recovery sessions, that has seen star footballers messing around on inflatable unicorns in swimming pools.

Jones’ England will host Canada at Twickenham on Saturday, and enjoyed a recovery session this week comprising axe throwing and tree felling.

“I think all coaches basically do the same, and you just have your own way of doing things,” said Jones.

“And you’re always looking for different ways of saying things, or doing things.

“We saw their recovery where they are all on the unicorns.

“We just had a recovery session out here with a Canadian theme, so we had axe throwing and chopping down trees, and doing all sorts like that.

“So those ideas that you get from other coaches, you just try to grow them yourself.

“And certainly there’s nothing specific that I can say but some of the ideas that Gareth has you then take on yourself.

“You’ve got to be, as Pep Guardiola says, an idea thief, and then it becomes your idea.”