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This is England’s time to deliver – and with Gareth Southgate they can do it | Thomas Hitzlsperger

Southgate stood out when I was with him at Aston Villa and his thoughtfulness and trust in players can break cycle of failure

I made my debut for Aston Villa on 13 January 2001 and, to be frank, it could have been in better circumstances. We were 3-0 down to Liverpool at home when John Gregory decided to beckon me from the bench. I came on with six minutes to go, into a lost cause, and in front of an understandably disgruntled crowd.

Nevertheless, it remains a good memory given it was my first taste of English football, and Premier League football in particular. I also came into a Villa side full of strong personalties like Paul Merson, David Ginola and Dion Dublin. It was a big occasion and something I was ready for because of the support I had been given before that moment, with few more supportive than someone else who featured for Villa on that Saturday afternoon – Gareth Southgate.

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