The England national football team will contest a major championship final for the first time in over half a century (55 years, to be exact), when they take on Italy at Wembley on Sunday. Standing in the dugout, just as he has been for the better of five years, will be head coach Gareth Southgate. And standing right alongside him, just as he has been for the better part of eight years, will be Steve Holland.
His importance is often overlooked, which is why this is a perfect time to (re-)watch his excellent Coaches’ Voice episode from last year, wherein he talks about his formative years as a young coach (got started at just 21, becoming fully licensed by 22), his various experiences at Chelsea (especially focusing on the 2011-12 season, both the lows of AVB and the highs of Napoli and Barcelona), as well as England’s 2018 World Cup campaign.
It’s 36 minutes, but it’s well worth your time. You might even learn something.
Holland started working with Southgate back in 2013, when they were just with the England U21s, and did the job on a part-time basis for the next four years, while maintaining his main role with the Chelsea first-team, under José Mourinho and later Antonio Conte. Holland had been with the club for a fair bit longer than that, first working with the reserves (when Carlo Ancelotti was in charge), then with the first-team starting with André Villas-Boas’ brief time in charge. That’s certainly a lot of change, but one thing always remained constant, the desire to win.
“My experience of life at Chelsea taught me that it’s about winning, and a winning mentality doesn’t include feeling sorry for yourself or making excuses. You analyse and then push to do better, which is of course what we’re trying to do.”
-Steve Holland; source: Coaches’ Voice
All eyes on Sunday’s final then.