Before the 2018 World Cup, the England national football team was the epitome of under achievement. Having crashed out of the last tournament, the Three Lions had never won a World Cup penalty shootout. So the team’s subsequent performance in reaching the semi final, beating Colombia via penalties on the way, took everyone by surprise.
The journey arguably began two years earlier when a seemingly odd panel of consultants was assembled alongside the then-new England manager Gareth Southgate to discuss how the team could improve.
Among the members of the Football Association’s Technical Advisory Board were the educational theorist Michael Barber, serial entrepreneur Manoj Bedale, cycling coach Dave Brailsford, Sandhurst’s first female commander Lucy Giles and former table tennis champion and author Matthew Syed.