Gareth Southgate’s Channel 4 interview turns awkward after England’s draw

In pictures: North Macedonia v England

England boss Gareth Southgate was left in an awkward moment with the Channel 4 punditry team after his side drew 1-1 with North Macedonia on Monday. He was being quizzed by host Jules Breach alongside pundits Joe Cole and Joleon Lescott when there was a long pause as former Chelsea star Cole was scrambling for a question.

The Three Lions boss was asked about his side’s performance and result that came after a questionable VAR decision led to the host taking the lead, before an own goal tied the game and England ended the calendar year unbeaten.

Towards the end of the questioning Breach looked to Cole as if he had another question for Southgate, but there was a long silence before the pundit asked him for his Christmas plans.

“So you didn’t ask… what are you doing for Christmas?” Cole said as the group all burst into laughter. “She threw it to me there and I didn’t have a question!”

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“I’m just panicking at what they (North Macedonia fans) are going to shout next,” Southgate replied as he handled the situation well, before the interview came to a swift end.

Even though England had suffered back-to-back dispirited performances against North Macedonia and Malta, Southgate was full of positive thoughts and optimism despite failing to end the year on a high.

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“The really big results were in March, winning in Italy and the result against Ukraine,” he said. “It meant coming here tonight was a different test, given we’ve qualified and everything was achieved. The mentality of the players was excellent, the quality with the ball was good on a very difficult pitch and a lot of positive performances.”

There was also a word of praise for debutant Rico Lewis, who gave away the contentious penalty but recovered to win Player of the Match. “He was excellent,” Southgate added.

“His composure with the ball, the fact that he did respond to that set-back [the penalty], which was really, really harsh. He is a super footballer, he was excellent I thought and we’re really pleased with him.”

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