What current Sheffield Wednesday man thought of his time playing under Gareth Southgate
England kick off their latest assault on major tournament glory this weekend.
The Three Lions take on Croatia on Sunday with Gareth Southgate in the role of manager, hoping to improve on their semi-final performance at the 2018 World Cup.
Southgate has assembled the tournament’s youngest squad and has a raft of the most talented players on the continent to choose from, drawing from his experience of youth coaching with the senior team.
He held the position of England under-21 coach for three years from 2013 until 2016, during which time he oversaw the development of a range of players including current Sheffield Wednesday central defender Dominic Iorfa.
Iorfa, then a promising right-back at Wolverhampton Wanderers, was a near-ever present in Southgate’s under-21s once he played his way into the squad, making 13 appearances along the way.
He was long since seen as a possible future England international, though, having been called up to train with a senior England squad in 2015 under Roy Hodgson.
Asked about Southgate’s appointment to the top job after Sam Allardyce’s brief stint the following year, Iorfa spoke in glowing terms, hinting that he felt
“The fact [Southgate] gave me the opportunity for England under-21s and I’ve played a lot of games, and now he’s gone to the seniors, it does look good on paper,” he told the Express and Star some four years ago.
“So if I keep my head down and keep doing well, hopefully the opportunity would be there. He’s a nice guy, a good coach, tactically very good, as are the sessions he puts on. I think he’ll do well [with England].”
Speaking to the Star last year, Iorfa answered rumours he was considering switching international allegiances to follow in the footsteps of his father and pay senior football for Nigeria.
“It’s something that I’m open to,” he said. “Obviously I grew up playing in the England setup, but I’m at the stage now where I’m ready to commit.
“So if anything was to happen, we’ll see. I would happily play for them, it’d be an honour to play for them.
“My father played for Nigeria as well, and if it happens it happens, but it is something I’d be open to and I’d relish the opportunity.”