IF I’m being honest, I’m not too fussed if England win the European Championships or not.

I’d be pleased for Gareth Southgate and other people I know in the England camp. What I will say is that if they do win, I hope that every single England fan has a really horrendous hangover, it’s the only thing we can take from it.

But as I say, I will be pleased for Gareth, who I got to know well a few years back now through the television work we did together.

Gareth’s character has been shaped by his experiences. As a manager, he was relegated in his first job, and that hurts for a while. He deals with it, goes into television, and that’s when I spent a lot of time working with him.

I enjoyed his company, it was great. It was strange at first because I was the one who took over his job at Middlesbrough. In hindsight, that wasn’t a good move for either of us, really!

We get on great though, I liked his sense of humour. We’d talk football all the time.

He then went into the England under-21 job, and when you look back at that now, that has given him that connection with the kids that he has worked with coming through the system.

I wouldn’t say that him or his coaching staff will have made any of the players better, and I don’t even know that the under-21 games would make them any better, because the likes of Phil Foden or Jack Grealish are talented boys that have been shaped by the coaches at their clubs, and they deserve all the credit.

But Gareth got to know how a young man thinks, and they got to know how he thinks as a manager. When it comes to the England first-team squad, Gareth has worked with a lot of them and knows a lot of them, so he doesn’t have to work out what their personalities are like or what they need, he’s got that knowledge already.

Gareth has also surrounded himself with good coaches, and isn’t afraid of people with opinions, he actually embraces their opinions, which is great.

I don’t think that can happen at every under-21 side. People will ask why we can’t do that in Scotland, but it’s a different system with different people, and do we really have anybody who has got that personality that Gareth has to do that job?

On top of everything else, you have to have this media savvy, and what you see with Gareth doesn’t come from working with PR people, it comes from him talking and acting as a captain throughout his career.

He has talked on television, so understands what punditry is all about. When you look back on him as a pundit, there was never any slamming anyone or anything like you get nowadays, it was about having an empathy for the manager or the player and being cool and calculated about what he was saying.

All that has added together to make the guy that Gareth is now, but he was always like that as a footballer too when you played against him. He was always in control of what he was doing.

His team might be getting beat, but he was still in command of what he was doing.

He’s taken a few hits media-wise, but that happens in the England job, and that’s why he gets paid really well, because you have to take those hits mentally. He’s handled all that brilliantly.

It’s everything in your life that gives you that resilience, everything you have come through since you were 10 years old. There are barriers put in front of you, physically and mentally.

What happened at Euro ’96 might be a small part of that for Gareth, but you’ve got to remember, he did a pizza advert with a bag over his head after it, so having a sense of humour like he does helps in that regard. You need a sense of humour, you need resilience, and he has both.

I’m not saying that his approach would work in every club, but in international football where you have these young men and you only have them for a certain amount of time, it works.

He has stuck to his guns throughout, even when he was getting criticism. They have obviously decided as a group that this is how they are going to play, and that’s it.

They aren’t going to go gung-ho, they will pass the ball forward when they are ready to, because they have good players just off Harry Kane, they will take their time. It’s not easy to do that, let me tell you.

As a player, you will see there’s maybe a pass on where you could squeeze it through, but you have to come back out and be patient.

It’s not easy not to be swayed by anybody, but as a manager, you really shouldn’t be swayed by pundits and all the rest of it.

The hardest part of that is answering the questions of the people interviewing you. They will say to you’ the fans are saying this or that’, that’s the hardest point as a manager. Who is it that’s saying that?

I was driving home the other night and somebody had phoned in the radio saying that Harry Kane should be dropped for the final. The best number nine in the world. So, you have to think about who is asking those questions really.

Somebody might then put that to Gareth, ‘the fans are saying Harry Kane should be dropped’. Who said it, some guy from Rotherham? Come on.

Gareth is much better than I was at hiding what he is really thinking in those situations. I’ve seen it in his eyes a couple of times when it has been such a bad question that it’s difficult to mask it, but my face would say loud and clear ‘Really? Am I meant to answer that?’

Anyway, the point is, that for England and this team of players, he is the perfect manager to get the best out of them. Roberto Mancini is very different, and he is getting the best out of Italy, so there’s all different ways of getting there.

Life is great for Gareth and the whole of England now, so he won’t be dwelling on the criticism he took. It’s Gareth and his gang that have created all of that, and the journey they are on now has overtaken any negativity that had gone before.

I think the game itself is going to be right close, perhaps one goal in it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it went to penalties.

Italy have been great to watch, they are proactive in everything they do. It’s almost a role reversal to what you might have said an England v Italy match would have been five or 10 years ago.

It’s set up to be a cracker, and if Gareth comes out on top - even though it means England winning the thing - I’ll be delighted for him.