Paul Gascoigne prepared for England vs Scotland Euro 96 clash by fishing in the Wembley BATH reveals Gareth Southgate
But it’s unlikely he’ll have to calm his players down quite as much as Paul Gascoigne in Euro 96.
No one will ever forget Gazza’s dentist’s chair celebration after scoring to overcome Scotland.
But the real story behind Gazza’s preparation for that game involves a fishing rod, ex-England coach Bryan Robson and the dressing-room baths.
Paul Gascoigne celebrates after scoring against Scotland at Euro 96
Southgate said: “I’m not sure emotional control was Gazza’s style. The only time Gazza was relaxed was when he went fishing so Bryan made him a fishing rod and he was pretend fishing in the bath at Wembley!
“Only he could remember the celebration he was going to do having scored. How does it even cross your mind? ‘Oh yes, I’ve got to do the dentist’s chair!’”
The celebration came from England’s infamous boozy night out in Hong Kong ahead of
Euro 96 when former boss Terry Venables gave the players a night off – and they ended up pouring drinks down each other’s throats.
You might not be surprised to learn Southgate was safely tucked up in bed that night.
He said: “I had got pally with Stuart Pearce and he said, ‘In my experience of England if you go out for a drink it’s as if nobody has ever drunk before in their lives.’
“He advised me to swerve it. Sometimes advice like that is good.
“After we won in Toulon (with the Under-21s this summer) we had all the players and staff in the bar and shared a couple of drinks together. We can’t live in a world where it’s about work. They are moments that bond teams. That’s what sport should be about.”
Southgate has mixed memories of big games at Wembley. He missed in the Euro 96 penalty shootout with Germany and also lost to Scotland in the second leg of the Euro 2000 play-off. England squeezed through having won the first leg at Hampden.
Paul Gascoigne celebrates scoring England’s second goal against Scotland with the famous “dentist chair” celebration
But Southgate knows Friday is the biggest of the lot. He is in pole position to get the England job and victory is certain to get him the role on a permanent basis.
He said: “I don’t think any job is impossible. Certain jobs are more complex than others but no job is impossible otherwise we would not have put a man on the moon.
“It’s a special fixture, these are the games that as a player and as a member of staff you want to be involved in. Viewing figures will be five times that of a Premier League game, it’ll capture the imagination.
“I want to get the balance right with the players. It’s important they know the history of our shirt, through all of our age groups. That’s an important message, part of that is the history of the fixture, some of the great players who have played in it.
“Every time you play for England you have a chance to make some history, or to play in a game people will remember forever and that’s incredibly powerful.
“I want them to be aware of that, pitch it in the right way that the performance level is right and that we are not over-emotional, have to be cool-headed, prepared in the right way. There’s a balance to that and we can achieve that.”
Luke Shaw in action for England
Southgate also defended Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw – but admitted some players are not tough enough to play for England.
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho risked a dressing-room revolt by telling England defenders Smalling and Shaw to “man up” after claiming they refused to play at Swansea on Sunday.
But Southgate confirmed the FA’s medical staff had checked with United and both were deemed unfit to report for England duty ahead of the Scotland clash.
He insisted neither player is “flaky” and said: “I don’t know Chris well. But that wouldn’t be my impression having worked with him. I know Luke well and he’s had a really tough injury.
“There have been players who haven’t played as much when I was playing, maybe playing for England was a bit too much for them.”
Smalling has not appeared for United since defeat at Chelsea last month when it is believed he had two painkilling injections in a foot injury, while Shaw has struggled to recover from a horrific leg break last season.
Southgate added: “With any injury, any recovery, there are physical and psychological aspects to that.
“Sometimes you might need a nudge to say, ‘Come on, you can.’
“But I can’t comment on the two guys because I don’t know the specifics of exactly where they’re at.”