Boris Johnson has praised England manager Gareth Southgate for doing an “absolutely outstanding job” in leading the men’s national football team to their first major tournament final in more than half a century.
The Prime Minister described the semi-final win over Denmark as a “total nail-biter” after cheering on the Three Lions from the stands on a famous night at Wembley Stadium.
The final whistle sparked pandemonium in the ground and across the nation as dreams of football coming home edged closer to reality on Wednesday night.
Asked if he could learn from the England manager’s leadership style and if it could soon be Sir Gareth, Mr Johnson told broadcasters: “I obviously wouldn’t want to anticipate anything that the honours people may decide.
“But clearly I think Gareth Southgate has done an absolutely outstanding job.
“What seems so amazing to me is how he varies it, he mixes it up, and plays a different series of options depending on the match in question.”
It comes after football pundit Gary Neville criticised the country’s leadership in his praise of the England manager following the 2-1 victory over Denmark.
The former player told ITV: “The standard of leaders in this country the past couple of years has been poor, looking at that man (Southgate), he’s everything a leader should be, respectful, humble, he tells the truth.”
England are now just one historic win away from their first major silverware since 1966, with Mr Johnson wishing the national team the “very best” ahead of Sunday’s Euro 2020 final.
Asked about the possibility of a bank holiday on Monday, the Prime Minister said: “I think that would be tempting fate, let’s see what happens.”
Downing Street said it would set out any celebrations such as a victory parade for the England team “in due course” if they win on Sunday.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman ruled out increasing the number of fans allowed to attend Wembley for the final, telling reporters: “There are no plans to extend the capacity.”
Employers who are able to should be flexible about allowing staff to go into work late on Monday or take the day off if England are victorious, according to the spokesman.
He added: “We would want businesses who feel able to consider it if they can but we recognise it will vary depending on the business and company.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who watched Wednesday’s clash in a bar in Belfast during a three-day visit to Northern Ireland, said he was “delighted” at the result.
Almost 24 million people tuned in to watch the game, ITV said, while an estimated 10 million pints were ordered during the course of the day.
Players and staff joined in a singalong with many of the jubilant 60,000 fans inside Wembley, where England supporters outnumbered their Danish counterparts by around six to one.
The Metropolitan Police said 23 arrests were made by officers across London following the match for offences including common assault, public order and assault on police.