Gareth Southgate: 'I couldn't listen to Three Lions for 20 years'

Three Lions has become the anthem of England’s World Cup campaign but Gareth Southgate has revealed that such was the pain of his penalty shoot-out miss at Euro 96, when the song was first released, that he could not bear to listen to it again.

Football’s coming home, I couldn’t listen to it for 20 years, frankly. It has a slightly different feel for me, but it’s nice to hear people enjoying it again,” Southgate said of the song by The Lightning Seeds and David Baddiel and Frank Skinner which has, years later, become England’s unofficial music at the tournament and has captured the imagination of the fans.

Southgate was a key player for England at Euro 96 but saw his penalty saved in the shoot-out at the end of the semi-final against Germany which saw them knocked out.

“Of course, the tournament ended in disappointment and it is nice to be able to put a different frame on it now. I still look back on it as an incredible life experience and to be involved with it, I just needed a bit of time to get over it,” Southgate said.

Asked how he would avoid the song, Southgate added: “I would just walk out of the room, it is an anthem and has followed the team for a long time but involved some difficult moments as well.” 

The England players have allowed the staff to choose two songs each to be played on the team bus to and from games at the World Cup and Southgate said: “ I don’t choose to stick it on, it’s not on the playlist, but I can listen to it.”

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