England football manager Gareth Southgate has been made an ‘honorary Yorkshireman’.
Southgate, 48, won the hearts of a nation after guiding the Three Lions to the semi-final stage, heartbreakingly crashing out to Croatia, this summer in the World Cup.
He received plaudits for managing to transform a side of no-hopers to a team on the brink of their first World Cup final since 1966 – even winning a penalty shootout along the way.
Those in England even proved their backing for Southgate by flocking to buy the waistcoat he was synonymous with since the start of the tournament in Russia this summer.
Former defender Southgate was born in Watford but has lived near Harrogate in Yorkshire since 2001.
He was bestowed with the accolade at the White Rose Awards in Harrogate, an annual ceremony with recognises the very best tourism businesses in Yorkshire.
The honour is presented by Welcome to Yorkshire to individuals who have made a big impact on Yorkshire, despite being born outside the county lines.
He is the third person to receive the honour, which was first awarded to Take That star Gary Barlow and his co-writer Tim Firth back 2015 for their contribution to Yorkshire culture with their production of Calendar Girls: The Musical.
Southgate said: “I’m very proud and very honoured.
“I’ve lived here longer than I’ve lived in any other part of the country, the values and friendliness of the people has been incredible.
“We love living here and have thoroughly embraced the Yorkshire way of life. It’s nice to be recognised in this way, I’m very proud.”
Welcome To Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity added: “I was delighted to present Gareth with this award.
“The way he led such a young and relatively inexperienced England side, full of Yorkshire players, to such a solid achievement in the 2018 World Cup was brilliant.
“His courage, determination and insistence on doing things his own way are all true Yorkshire qualities and we’re incredibly proud he’s made our county his home.”
Southgate won the League Cup with both Aston Villa and Middlesbrough and captained Crystal Palace to win the First Division championship in 1993–94.
Internationally, Southgate made 57 appearances for the England national team between 1995 and 2004, featuring in the 1998 FIFA World Cup and both the 1996 and 2000 European Championships.
His playing career ended in May 2006 at the age of 35, and after more than 500 league appearances.