Chairboys goalkeeper David Stockdale spoke to BBC 3 Counties Radio about England and how parallels can be drawn between the positive atmosphere in the Three Lions camp and that of the Wycombe squad currently training at Marlow Road.
Stockdale supported the Chairboys from the bench as they stormed through the playoffs before becoming the starting keeper during the second half of the 2020/21 Championship season. Both Gareth Southgate and Gareth Ainsworth have highlighted how important the whole squad can be, whether they are on the pitch or not, as well the importance of the attitude instilled by the manager.
‘They’re in it together - you don’t know whether you’re going to get called in - if one of the guys sat there and sulked, it might have an impact on the rest of the squad. In a major tournament like this, everything has to fall into place and it shows you the attitude of all of the guys that he’s got in. Us armchair supporters who think we can do the job that these managers do, don’t realise the things that they have to think about and the things that can affect a team at these times.’
Not only are the two managers both vocal about the importance of their whole squad, they are both skilled in getting the most out of players, as Stocko describes:
‘It’s not easy and that’s why managers get paid to make decisions. I’m calling it the Gareth effect - our manager is one and himself - he’s smiling and he’s positive, no matter what the scoreline. He brings an energy to the team, he’s well spoken and says everything he needs to say, like Gareth Southgate.’
‘It’s all about communication, positivity and knowing that he’s picked people for the right reasons and that he can call on those people. When players have that communication, positivity and energy around the place, they trust their manager, his decisions and might not agree with it but you put your pride to one side and realise that it isn’t just for me; and for these guys, it’s for the whole country.’
The positivity in the Chairboys camp is not just fostered by Ainsworth, but also by the Couhigs, who have been clear that the boys have done the club proud over recent seasons.
‘Our Chairman Rob has been great - he said that we’ve had a cracking season and we’ve done all that we could to stay up. He was proud and he didn’t think he would have seen us in the Championship that early.’
‘We’ve just got back in for pre-season and the hard work continues as we try and get back to Championship football for the fans.’