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Teddy Sheringham on Sterling, Southgate and karaoke nights at Tottenham

| 01.07.2021

We recently chatted with former England striker Teddy Sheringham to talk about England’s European Championship so far, his good friend Gareth Southgate and loads more. 

Speaking to us ahead of his Ukraine v England Ladbrokes 5-A-Side selection, the 55-year-old looked back on his time in an England shirt and karaoke nights with Terry Venables… 

Raheem Sterling has been England’s shining light 

“It’s amazing what a couple of goals can do for a player; I know that from my own experience. You’re not feeling good about yourself, but all of a sudden you get a goal or two, and there’s a bit of a release in that tension.  

“The crowd are singing your name, and you can see Raheem Sterling is growing in confidence, without a doubt. From where he was in the first game to where he is now, it’s a real credit to him, his desire and his hunger. 

“You have to single Sterling out as a player who has been dominant for England and really taken the game to the opposition. I’d say that in a team which have performed very, very well, he has been the shining light.” 

On Phil Foden  

“I think Phil Foden did OK in the opening two games, but I don’t think the manager wants OK. Gareth Southgate is looking for a good performance, or even better than that. 

“He did OK for the team and he kept his shape, but he didn’t really show anything fantastic, especially as we know what he can do. That’s why things have been shuffled around a little bit. Bukayo Saka came in and did very well in his first game.  

“I still think there’s time for Foden to come back into this tournament, the further we go. There will be times where he will be needed, because of his clever little forward play. He can do things that other players can’t, and of course you need that if you’re going to go far.  

“Will Jack Grealish start the next game? Will Foden come back in? I really don’t know, because when you see the performances that Saka and Raheem Sterling have put in, can you afford to take one of those out? 

“You might be able to squeeze a Foden into the starting line-up if you take out one of those holding midfielders.” 

On the Beckham free-kick against Greece 

“I think back to that famous game against Greece at Old Trafford in 2001 where David Beckham scores the late free-kick to send us through to the World Cup. 

“First of all, I’d already scored to make it 1-1 in the game, so I was buzzing. I felt ten feet tall, and I’d won the free-kick late on in the game, making the most of a shove from the defender.  

“Becks had probably had five or six free-kicks in that game, and they’d gone all over the place; he’d hit the wall, he’d hit Row Z, so when we got the last one I actually said to him “Becks, I’ll have this one.” He just said “Go away, Ted. You can’t even reach from here.” 

“He had a point. I’d scored the odd free-kick in my career but I saw Becks on a daily basis practising so I knew he was better. If you had to put money on someone putting the ball in the top corner in the last minute of a game, you’d put it on him.  

“He told me to go away in the most polite way he could think of at the time, and ended up scoring. That’s what top players are all about.”

On Gareth Southgate 

“I’m obviously happy England have beaten Germany and progressed to the next stage, but of course it makes it a little bit sweeter that my old teammate is in charge. You learn from your experiences in life, and you can see that Gareth Southgate has got a Terry Venables-esque approach to things. 

“Terry wasn’t really a shouter, he wasn’t a ranter and raver, and I can’t imagine Gareth is either. Every now and then he’ll probably raise his voice and that’s perfect, because people switch off if you’re just shouting all the time.  

“It’s great to see Gareth getting that unity which the Euro ’96 squad had. You can tell the team love being around each other, and that makes a massive difference to everyone, especially in an England camp.  

“It’s very hard when you’re trying to gel for four weeks, and there’s a certain way of doing it. Terry got it right in 1996 and Gareth looks like he’s doing it now, which is just fantastic to see. 

“Within two minutes of me scoring my penalty in that shootout against Germany, Gareth [Southgate] misses his and we’re out of the tournament. 

“What can you say to someone after a moment like that? You don’t know how he’s feeling, you try and put yourself in their position and you try and console him, but he’s not going to be listening for the next couple of hours, couple of days, probably even couple of weeks. 

“I would never blame someone for taking a penalty and missing; I’ve missed penalties before. You put yourself on a spot to be shot at, and if you miss you miss. I don’t think Gareth’s was the worst penalty I’ve ever seen; I’ve seen worse hit the back of the net. It’s just one of those things. 

“Stuart Pearce was the one who immediately spoke with Gareth after he missed, having been in that position himself a few years beforehand. 

“They were good friends. Myself, Pearce, Gareth and Tony Adams used to play Hearts in the afternoon with a cup of tea – Tony is another one who consoled Gareth on the night. He’d always be great in the dressing room, so he went over and made sure Gareth was OK.  

“Everyone tries to do their bit, but Pearce and Adams were probably the ones who looked after him the most.” 

Karaoke nights with Terry Venables  

“Terry Venables signed me for Tottenham Hotspur in 1992 and he used to have a club called Scribes.  

“He’d host Saturday nights there and there’d be a bit of karaoke and a sing-along. He’d take the microphone, and the first time I saw him I’m just thinking ‘my new boss, here, this should be interesting. Is he going to embarrass himself?’ But wow. I’d heard he had a good voice but it was stunning. It was very nice, Frank Sinatra-esque. 

“It was a great experience just recently doing The Masked Singer. Obviously, it’s all pre-recorded so I knew when I was getting booted off the show.  

“On the Thursday beforehand, I played golf with my old friends James Collins, Simon Davies and Carl Fletcher. We were walking up the fairway and I just asked any of them if they’d seen the show. 

“I said “I can’t understand it; what a load of rubbish!” just to try and get a response. All of them said they’d had it on in the background with their wives and kids, but they weren’t really clued up on it.  

“I didn’t say any more, and then when I got unmasked on the Saturday night, they phoned me up straight after and couldn’t believe I was on it. They were annoyed I didn’t tell them I was on it, but it’s all such a secretive show; you can’t tell anyone. It was hilarious. 

“I’ve had a few people come up to me since the show aired. They don’t ask if I’m Teddy Sheringham, the Manchester United and Tottenham footballer, they ask if I was the Tree from The Masked Singer.  

“I’m getting asked for autographs when I’m out and about with mates and they’re like “look what it’s come to, you’re actually getting remembered as a tree!” 

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