I'm a Man Utd legend who managed Gareth Southgate – I thought he was too sensible to be a good manager | The Sun

MANCHESTER UNITED legend Steve Coppell admits thinking England boss Gareth Southgate would not make a good manager.

That’s because he was too sensible as a player.

Coppell, 68, scored 53 goals in 322 games for United, having started his career at Tranmere Rovers.

The former winger, who won the FA Cup at Old Trafford, also clocked up 42 appearances for England.

But Coppell was forced to retire early in 1983 aged just 28, having sustained a career-ending knee injury that left him unable to play.

He swiftly moved into the world of management though.



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And just a year later he found himself in charge at Crystal Palace.

Coppell ended up leading the Eagles to the First Division while managing stars like Ian Wright and Alan Pardew.

But he also had a certain future England manager under his wing too.

Southgate has transformed the Three Lions into genuine contenders during his time at the helm.

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And the fan favourite will be hoping to go a step further by winning Euro 2024 next summer.

But Coppell admits out of all his players, Southgate was the one he did NOT expect to go into management.

That’s because the ace was seen by staff as “too sensible” for his own good.

Coppell told The Mail: “(At Palace) it took five years for us to be promoted into the First Division. A manager wouldn’t get that time nowadays.

“I’m hugely proud we went on to reach an FA Cup final and finish third in the First Division and proud to see what some of those players have done since.

“I’m sure Ian Wright wouldn’t mind me saying he could barely finish a sentence without swearing when he first arrived.

“Now he’s got an OBE and is in huge demand on television. I’m thrilled — he’s used his opportunities brilliantly.

“When I thought about which players would become managers, Alan Pardew was top, he was already running a Sunday League side.

“Gareth (was) near the bottom. I thought he was too sensible.

“What he’s done with England is outstanding. I can’t think of anyone who could do that job better in representing the FA and the country.

“It shows having football common sense on top of overall common sense goes a long way.”


Coppell stayed at Palace until 1993 before making a shock return for a year in 1995.

He then had a brief reign at Manchester City before enjoying a further two spells at Palace between 1997 and 2000.

Afterwards, he moved to Brentford for a year before taking charge of Brighton until 2003.

Coppell then got the Reading job and stayed with the club until 2009.

The next year saw him wind up at Bristol City, and by 2012 he was director of football at Crawley Town.

A year later he held the same role at Portsmouth until 2014.

But Coppell returned to management in 2016 with Indian side Kerala Blasters.

He remained in the country to take charge of Jamshedpur the following year.

And in 2018, in what has since been his last managerial job, Coppell led Indian side ATK for 12 months.

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