England return to international football with autumn looming this weekend, while the embers of their fiery, summertime assault on world football’s biggest tournament still glow gently behind them.
Gareth Southgate’s men may not have won the tournament, but they captured the imagination of their watching support back home, and they now find themselves in the fairly unique position of being part of an England team that the fans actually quite… like?
Paul Parker found himself in a similar position after being part of the Sir Bobby Robson side that reached the semi-finals of Italia ’90, and the former Manchester United man is well-placed to offer insight into life after such revered progress.
In the latest episode of Behind The Lines, Parker reveals what it was like to play in that team and how life changed for him afterwards, both internationally and at Manchester United, where a sprightly young full-back by the name of Gary Neville was making himself known.
Parker also reveals how he needed to develop a thick skin as an Afro-Carriibean player in the 1980s, and how he disagrees with the ‘Rooney Rule’ when it comes to improving the number of black and ethnic minority managers in the game today.