Gareth Southgate’s life off-pitch with wife Alison and adorable way he won her heart

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Gareth Southgate and his trusty waistcoat will be leading England to the European Championships this summer, with the Three Lions one of the favourites to win the competition.

But away from the dugout, the former footballer, 50, enjoys a more peaceful way of life alongside his wife of 23 years and their two teenage child, Mia and Flynn.

The former Middlesbrough captain has previously revealed that his family life helps him to recover from the disappointments of football.

And while there's no doubt he'll be supported by his brood for some of the England matches at Wembley Stadium, we take a look at how life off-pitch.

Life with Alison

Gareth Southgate married Alison in 1997 after two years of dating in his hometown of Crawley

The England football manger first met his wife Alison in his early 20s when he was an up-and-coming trainee at Crystal Palace.r Crystal Palace.

Although a self-assured star on the pitch, Gareth recalled in his 2003 autobiography that he was incredibly shy off it – until he met Alison, who was working as a counter assistant in a Croydon shop

The former Middlesbrough manager said would loiter around the shop and pretend to look at clothes just to catch a glimpse of her, and occasionally strike up a conversation.

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It was safe to say the sports star was immediately smitten – although there was one problem, she had a boyfriend and was living with him.

After Gareth's first attempt to ask her out failed, he came across Alison and her then boyfriend at restaurant a week later, after hearing they were on the verge of breaking up.

The former footballer then cheekily gave Alison his number when her ex wasn't looking – and thankfully his boldness paid off with Alison calling him that night.

The couple have been married for 23 years

Proving good things come to those who wait, the pair organised their first date the next day. But out of fear of her ex finding out, they met in secret at the local Tesco car park.

And that first date appeared to seal their fate together as they got married two years later in his hometown, Crawley, sandwiched between the World Cup and the European Championship campaigns.

Nearly 23 years later, the couple who secretly met in a Tesco carpark all those years ago are still happily married.

Finding a balance with his kids

Gareth pictured hugging his daughter Mia in 2018

The Three Lions boss and wife Alison have two teenagers, daughter Mia, 19 and 15-year-old son Flynn, also revealed that his family life helps him to recover from the disappointments of football.

In his 2003 autobiography, Southgate praised his family life for adding balance to his hectic career.

"On Saturday evening, our children are not too bothered whether Dad’s team have won or lost," he wrote.

"Neither does Alison fret too much about football, and this is how I like it.

"Regardless of the result, it is up to me to ensure that no one’s evening is ruined because of things that happened on a football field.

"The agonising waits until Alison and the kids are asleep."

His haven away from the pitch

The Three Lions manager is based in North Yorkshire when he isn't coaching the England team
(Image: The FA via Getty Images)

When he's not on the pitch, Gareth enjoys some well-deserved downtime at his £3.75million North Yorkshire home, Swintsy Hall.

The 16th Century manor house boasts six bedrooms, four bathrooms, a wine cellar, a cinema room – and even a resident ghost who reins over its four floors.

The sprawling 500-year-old property, which was previously owned by developer Chris Taylor, features tasteful interiors with period features such as high-ceilings, wooded beams and a baronial hall fireplace.

And with it's rich history, it should come as no surprise that there's some ghouls hanging about in the form of a thief named Robinson, who apparently used the wealth he stole from people to build the manor.

Aside from haunting spirits, the property's 4.5acre grounds also includes a two-bedroom cottage, its own woodland copse and views of the local reservoir.

Despite the home's impressive features, Gareth has put the family on the market three times; first in 2016 and subsequently twice in 2018 when Alison reportedly wanted to move closer to their children's school.

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