Euro 2020: Gareth Southgate's neighbours praise 'lovely, humble man'

image source, Eddie Keogh/The FA/Getty Images
image captionGareth Southgate has guided England to the first final in a major tournament in 55 years

As he prepares his team to face Italy in the Euro 2020 final, Gareth Southgate has already cemented his place as a legendary England manager. But, away from the adulation of millions, neighbours in the corner of North Yorkshire he calls home say he is a "humble, lovely man".

Swinsty Reservoir, near Harrogate, is a picturesque spot surrounded by acres of green fields and vegetation typical of the undulating Yorkshire landscape. Against this backdrop, locals are used to another notable sight: Gareth Southgate.

The England boss, who moved to the area during his managerial stint at Middlesbrough FC, is regularly seen walking his dogs or running near his home close to the reservoir.

Most who live nearby have a story or two to tell about meeting him, and all are united in their opinion.

"He's a humble, lovely man," says Sarah Stead.

Ms Stead, a volunteer at Washburn Heritage Centre, said he regularly uses the tea rooms and has even welcomed carol singers to his home at Christmas.

"We find him a very good and hospitable neighbour and it's an honour to have him so close," she says. "He seems very committed to everything he does and is a good part of the local community.

"He's just like a regular guy in the neighbourhood who you'd love to have a chat with."

It is an "honour" to have him as a neighbour and customer, she adds.

image source, John Winder/Geograph
image captionThe England manager is regularly seen walking around his home near Swinsty Reservoir

Family man Southgate is also a regular fixture at school sports events, says teacher Helen Mackenzie, describing him as "just part of the crowd".

"His daughter is an elite netballer. It's not all about him and he's one of the nicest guys you could ever meet," she says.

"It's not about him signing autographs or talking about how he's the England manager - it's about him, a daddy, watching his daughter play netball, and that's all it is."

'A regular guy'

image source, Graeme Bandeira/Yorkshire Post
image captionGareth Southgate said he had a good face for a caricature when signing a cartoon drawn by Graeme Bandeira

Yorkshire Post cartoonist Graeme Bandeira said he regularly bumps into Southgate around Harrogate, always giving up time for a chat or to take a picture.

He says he is self-deprecating, and once signed a cartoon Mr Bandeira drew before the 2018 World Cup in Russia with: "I've a good face for caricature!"

Mr Bandeira, who is involved in grassroots football, says Southgate "attends as many presentation evenings as he can and he's just a man of the community".

"He's such a humble, lovely man and everybody is spot-on what they say. He's just a great guy."

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