Burnley hairdresser tackles England boss ahead of huge World Cup clash
England manager Gareth Southgate will be looking a cut above during tomorrow's huge World Cup quarter-final with Sweden thanks to a Burnley hairdresser.
Simon Townley flew out to Russia last week to look after the hair of Chelsea centre-back Gary Cahill, Manchester United defender Phil Jones, Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland, and Burnley stopper Nick Pope.
However, the talented 32-year-old is now one of the first names on Southgate's preen-sheet after bumping into the waistcoated national treasure coming out of the training camp's barbershop.
"The first time I flew out, I was walking out of the barbershop while Gareth was walking in. He stopped to speak with me and was asking me about about my leg, as I have brittle bones and I'm currently injured.
"As the conversation went on I thought the question was there to be asked, so I asked him: 'Do you need a haircut?' He said he didn't think he needed one at the minute. I told him I was coming back out the week after and so he said he'd come and see me then.
"He came into the barbershop yesterday, sat in my chair and said he was a man of his word. It was unbelievable."
Simon's remit was quite simply "nothing too short" and he duly obliged.
"As the tournament has gone on his hair has gone to the side a bit so I gave him a nice little side-parting. He seemed happy with it but we'll see what people think on Saturday.
"I've cut a lot of footballers' hair but I don't think I have ever been this nervous. There was just something about him. He's such a lovely person. He's exactly how he comes across in the media. He's absolutely fantastic."
It has been yet another incredible experience for Simon who went to France 2016 to keep Clarets skipper Tom Heaton’s hair tidy before being asked to take care of Cahill and Jones, as well as keepers Joe Hart and Fraser Forster.
This time round, as well as Southgate and the aforementioned four players, Simon was also asked to look after a number of the England staff including physios, kitmen and nutritionists.
"When I was younger I remember reading an article about a hairdresser who had gone with the England team for the World Cup in Brazil and so I set myself that goal. I might need to get some new goals now."
The journey isn't over for Simon just yet though.
If England reach the World Cup final he will be flying back out to Russia for what could undoubtedly be the biggest job of his life.