Gareth Evans: From the dressing room

Gareth Southgate is a bit of an uninspiring appointment as England manager.

Saturday, 3rd December 2016, 12:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 1:03 pm
England assistant boss Steve Holland, right, was Gareth Evans youth-team coach at Crewe and chose not to offer him a professional contract

It’s not been a case of ‘Let’s get Southgate in because he’s brilliant’, it’s more a case of ‘Let’s get Southgate in because there’s no-one else’.

Hopefully he can do well and prove a few people wrong but I don’t know too much about him to offer an informed opinion on whether or not he will be a success in the role.

I have come across Steve Holland, his number two, though, who I know very well.

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It looks like he will be leaving Chelsea at the end of the season to link up with Southgate in a full-time role with England.

A lot of people weren’t happy about Holland being at Chelsea and the fact that he is going to get inside knowledge on England players – the main people bothered being Spurs.

He was my youth-team coach at Crewe. I can’t believe he has got as far as he has to be honest.

I didn’t really get on that well with him when I was in the youth-team at Crewe.

He didn’t really like me for some reason and once Dario Gradi stepped down, he became the manager – that is when I moved on and ended up signing for Macclesfield Town and building my way up that way.

He’s a good coach but you could see he didn’t really have it as a manager and didn’t last long, about five months in the Crewe job before the sack.

Then he moved onto be Academy boss at Stoke, before Chelsea took him as reserve manager and he worked his way up to be assistant to Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte, inset.

To see him end up as number two to Southgate with England is pretty impressive in fairness.

He had all the credentials as a coach but didn’t really cut it as a manager.

I was there from seven until 10, then went to Manchester United from 10-14, and back to Crewe at 14 all the way through to 19.

Steve had been there a good few years before I had initially joined.

When you see the production line at Crewe and what they did with the youth policy there, it is no surprise he ended up being a really good coach.

By the time I got to 16 and did my apprenticeship he was in charge of the youth team and was my coach for three years.

The same day he became manager turned out to be the day they were telling the apprentices whether they were getting a pro contract or not – and I didn’t get one.

I was told by Dario a few months before, when he was boss, that I would be getting a two-year pro and we were talking money and all sorts.

Dario stepped down and went upstairs and Steve had me in the office and told me I wasn’t getting one.

It was a bit of a blessing in disguise because there was a lot of lads which did get one and didn’t really progress.

Some didn’t breaking into Crewe first-team until two or three years after that when aged 21/22.

So I ended up signing for Macclesfield Town and played 43 or something games in League Two the following season.

I had a really good experience there.

I would love to say Holland fizzled out and didn’t know what he was talking about – but he clearly did!

I’ve actually bumped into him a few times recently and he has been alright with me.