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The 50-year-old former Boro captain and manager was taken to the hearts of Teessiders, winning the only trophy in its history when he was skipper.
He has been praised for his leadership of the England team both on the pitch – taking them to the final of the Euros for the first time – and off it, with his stance against racism.
He was captain of Middlesbrough when they won the League Cup in 2004.
At a full council meeting this week, councillors agreed to bestow him with the honour, agreeing with a resolution which said: “After some of the most difficult and tragic 18 months this country has faced, this England football team led by Gareth Southgate has given everyone some much needed hope and joy.
“In difficult times, Gareth Southgate has united England with his unifying presence, leadership and quiet charisma.
“As a former captain and manager of Middlesbrough Football Club, Gareth has a unique connection with our town.
“This council believes it is fitting to award him the Freedom of the Borough.”