Following the biggest game of his coaching career, Gareth Southgate may be reflecting on what might have been.
Working as an estate agent means that you get to dress smartly, are given a company car or a car allowance, decent commission, and if you’re lucky, staff discount when you decide to rent or sell a property. What is there not to like?
But Southgate opted for a different path, despite training to become an agent.
Long before enjoying a successful career as a football player and later England manager, Southgate was given an opportunity to work as an agent.
When he was an aspiring professional and already known for his polite and by football standards ‘posh’ demeanour, the Crystal Palace youth team manager Alan Smith decided to introduce the now England manager to an estate agent.
Smith told the BBC: “I had a doubt whether or not he had a career in professional football in him. We had one particular game, which we lost, and I called him into the office and said, Gareth, I think you’re too bright to do this job. I think you have to make a choice. If it was my choice, I think you should become a travel agent.” Or it turns out, as an estate agent.
Smith continued: “I introduced him to an estate agent friend of mine that got him to do some work after training. He was measuring up, mundane stuff, looking to see if a property could be marketed or not. All of these things help build the character you become. It opened his eyes to what was out there and showed him what it was like to deal with people outside football.”
Smith eventually made Southgate captain of Crystal Palace, and the rest, as they say, is history.
As for the property market, the boy’s done good! Southgate and his family now live in a 16th Century manor house located in a quaint village in North Yorkshire, boasting six plush bedrooms, a wine cellar and sprawling grounds.
Bouquets of white roses adorn the antique tables, with crystal lamps hanging from the ceiling and standing on bedside chests. Aged beams line the vaulted ceilings, and racks of candles cast a warm glow over the wood-panelling in the living room.
Over its four floors, the £3.75million mansion has six massive bedrooms, four bathrooms, a dressing room, a wood-panelled drawing room for entertaining celeb guests and study, as well as a rustic kitchen.
As you'd expect from Gareth's old-school gentleman style, the interiors are classy, with marble worktops, purple velour soft furnishings, wooded beams and a baronial hall fireplace on display.
He also has a fine antiques collection - from tall golden goblets and black marble statues to vintage fireplace tools and splendid chandeliers. And if Gareth and wife of 24 years Alison fancy a cosy date night in, they can do so in their private cinema.
Located at the very top of the home, the room features electric reclining seats and a home cinema system, where Gareth will undoubtedly be watching the highlights from the Euros and plotting a path for England to go one better in next year's World Cup.