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The ex-Sheffield United man you may not have heard of helping England to Euro glory UK News

Aaron Ramsdale, Conor Coady, Harry Maguire, Kyle Walker and Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s ties with Sheffield United are well known. But what is somewhat glossed over is the fact that another former Bramall Lane has played a key role in England’s resurgence under Southgate in recent years.

Ian Mitchell spent two seasons working at United under Dave Bassett in the mid-1990s. At the time, he combined the role of a sports scientist with his own playing career before a serious injury ended him. He became a lecturer in psychology at Cardiff Metropolitan University, before returning to football in Swansea.

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After a successful stint with the Wales senior squad, including their run to the Euro 2016 semi-finals, Mitchell teamed up with England and in 2019 became the Head of Performance Psychology of the FA.

Mitchell is said to have influenced Southgate’s decision to embrace the media in recent years, with players being encouraged not to view journalists and reporting as enemies and instead share their stories. Maguire opened up to Mitchell after his high-profile incident in Greece last year, which he admitted this week was a tough time in his career.

The culture around the England squad has never been more inclusive and positive, as the men from Southgate prepare for their third semi-final in four years and seek to seal a place in their first major final since the 1966 World Cup.

Dr Ian Mitchell, formerly of Sheffield United, with England manager Gareth Southgate in a training session last month: Nick Potts / PA Wire.

His work at United only underscores how far ahead of his time Bassett was. Often unfairly labeled as a longball dealer, those who played under Bassett point out that his methods are actually quite avant-garde and that he was one of the first managers to truly reap the benefits of sports science and of fitness.

Ed Baranowski was hired as a full-time fitness trainer, with players reporting to Don Valley for bodybuilding and bodybuilding. Mitchell, for his part, has previously described Bassett as “a good guy, very forward thinking.” And if United do win the Euro, there is another connection from South Yorkshire that will have helped them along the way.

Mitchell, center, has previously worked with Chris Coleman and the Wales national team: Joe Giddens / PA Wire
Mitchell has worked closely with Southgate since joining the England squad (Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images)

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This notice was published: 2021-07-06 11:11:09

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