Flashback: Peter Taylor named caretaker manager of England on this day in 2000
While Sir Bobby Robson had been the first-choice, Taylor’s CV was a good fit – not only had he completed a highly-distinguished stint in charge of the under-21s, losing just one match in three years, he was also enjoying a honeymoon period in his first Premier League assignment with Leicester.
On this day 20 years ago he was handed the keys to the national side for a friendly against Italy, bridging the reigns of Kevin Keegan and Sven-Goran Eriksson.
Inspired by his time with the next generation of Three Lions stars he focused on youth, naming a relatively-callow XI which had Gary Neville and a certain Gareth Southgate as its most experienced campaigners.
Most striking was his decision to hand the captain’s armband to a 25-year-old David Beckham, just two years after the nadir of his World Cup red card against Argentina. That decision would prove to be a wise one, with the midfielder going on to become a distinguished skipper for his country during a glittering career.
The final result did not go in Taylor’s – or Beckham’s – favour, with a wonderful Gennaro Gattuso strike settling a 1-0 win at Stadio delle Alpi, but the starting pistol had been fired on a new generation of players that would form the backbone of Eriksson’s tenure.
Taylor stayed on to assist Eriksson for a short period but his coaching career had already peaked. He has travelled far and wide since – from Bradford to Bahrain – and twice returned to the FA for further stints with the under-21s and under-20s.