Cesc Fabregas says Steve Holland’s ‘meticulous coaching brain is England’s secret weapon’.
‘I appreciate a lot his quality,’ said Antonio Conte, Blues manager when it was announced in December 2016 that Holland would be leaving Chelsea to work full-time for England the following summer.
‘He is a great man and a great coach,’ the Italian added. ‘He has a big opportunity to work for his country and I know very well what this means but for us for next season he will be a big loss.’
‘He’s been terrific and we’re very fortunate to have someone of Steve’s experience and pedigree,’ said Gareth Southgate even earlier than that, back in 2013 when the pair began working together with England Under-21s.
‘He’s been involved at every level of the game and now the very highest level after five or six years at Chelsea. We’re very grateful to Chelsea for letting us have him and I’m delighted to have him alongside me.’
The Three Lions boss’s delight can only have swelled over the past month as Holland assisted Southgate in guiding the senior side to a first European Championship in the England national team’s history, so ahead of today’s big meeting with Italy at Wembley, we look back on the Steve Holland story at Chelsea when the coach was a key member of staff during plenty of successful years.