England manager Gareth Southgate faces a grilling from Leeds school pupils

After almost seven years in the hotseat, England men’s football manager Gareth Southgate is used to facing a grilling from the media.

But Mr Southgate had to impress a particularly tough crowd as he hosted a press conference with a difference at a Leeds school.

A group of 30 Year 10 and 11 students from Lawnswood School were stunned to find themselves acting as journalists at a mock press conference in front of the England boss.

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The students were taking part in a Channel 4 4Schools initiative encouraging young people to consider the wide range of careers available in the world of broadcasting.

Gareth Southgate stunned pupils at Lawnswood School. Photo: Roger MoodyGareth Southgate stunned pupils at Lawnswood School. Photo: Roger Moody
Gareth Southgate stunned pupils at Lawnswood School. Photo: Roger Moody

Prior to coming face to face with Southgate, the students had been briefed by Channel 4’s Head of Sport Pete Andrews who explained what happens behind the scenes to broadcast a sporting event and the wide range of roles involved.

But they had no idea the day would end by the chance to test their newfound interviewing skills on Mr Southgate.

As well as answering questions about leading the national squad, dealing with pressure, his main goal and England’s forthcoming matches, he also offered the students advice on everything from GCSEs and working life.

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Mr Southgate told the students: “Pretty much everything you’re going to do in life, you’re going to do with other people, playing sport teaches you about working together and to be successful in life, it’s very hard to do it on your own, you need other people with you.

“Sometimes there might be people who irritate you and you have to find a way to get on with people, even though you might not be best friends with people, finding a way to work with them is really important.”

During the press conference, Mr Southgate revealed his only current sporting goal is for England to become European champions in Germany next year.

Speaking on the forthcoming qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia, Mr Southgate said: “Remarkably England have never beaten North Macedonia at home. North Macedonia also knocked Italy out of the last World Cup so there is no room for complacency, we have to make sure our mentality is right and we play at our highest level.”

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Lawnswood School student Matthew, 16, whose dream is to become a sports commentator, said: “When Gareth Southgate walked in I couldn’t believe it, I would never have expected him to even be at our school. He is so down to earth, such a nice person.”

Fellow student Emil, 14, said: “Normally I’d have been in French or English but instead I was with Gareth Southgate!

" I thought it was crazy when he walked through the door, I thought it might be a player from a lower division, or maybe even a Leeds player, not the England manager.

"He was really interesting and a lot of what he talked about applied to what we do in school. It was so cool.”