Eddie Jones has revealed how he has borrowed from Gareth Southgate’s coaching manual after saluting his opposite number for guiding England’s men into a major football tournament final for the first time in 55 years.
Jones has regularly met Southgate – both have welcomed the other into their England camps – and the pair are part of a global brains trust, which also includes Arsène Wenger as well as NFL representatives, to discuss how best to manage elite sporting organisations during the pandemic. Southgate’s willingness to borrow from Jones has been demonstrated during Euro 2020 with the term “finishers” – designed to empower substitutes – employed within his camp.
And Jones, who led England to the Rugby World Cup final in 2019, their first major final in 16 years, has revealed that he too has implemented some of Southgate’s methods. “We saw their recovery where they are all on the unicorns. We just had a recovery session out here with a Canadian theme, so we had axe throwing and chopping down trees, and doing all sorts like that,” said Jones.
“So those ideas that you get from other coaches, you just try to grow them yourself. And certainly there’s nothing specific that I can say but some of the ideas that Gareth has you then take on yourself. You’ve got to be, as Pep [Guardiola] says, an idea thief, and then it becomes your idea.
“Gareth’s a humble, curious, very well-educated coach. The thing that impresses me for a young coach, he carries himself with a lot more experience. We all watched [the semi-final] with a lot of interest, intense supporting. The English have the right to go nuts. It does seem as though in England, sport does tend to galvanise quite a diverse community into supporting one thing, and that’s probably the standout bit of what I see.”
Jones has also been taken by the narrative of Southgate’s redemption, 25 years on from missing the decisive penalty against Germany in the Euro 96 semi-final. “Well, that’s the reason we’re involved,” he added. “Because there’s always another chance, there’s always another opportunity. It’s the drug of the coaching and the drug of the sport that makes you want to be involved with it. It just makes you feel good about sport. They keep showing that penalty choke of Gareth, don’t they, and now they’ve got other shots of him, which is fantastic.”
Jones has handed out another four new caps for Saturday’s match against Canada with Alex Dombrandt given a debut at No 8 after another stellar season with Harlequins. “We haven’t seen the best of Alex yet,” said Jones. “We might not for another couple of years but if he keeps that desire to want to keep improving, take the hard knocks and learn from it there is no limit on where he can go as a player because he’s got some special skills.”