Gareth Southgate to discuss with his players the meaning of playing for England

Gareth Southgate File Photo
Gareth Southgate File Photo - (Copyright PA Wire)
22:45pm, Thu 01 Oct 2020
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Gareth Southgate will discuss with his England players what it means to wear the Three Lions shirt as he dropped Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden to send a “message” following their behaviour last month.

The pair were sent home after breaching Covid-19 regulations in Reykjavik in September, just hours after both had made their senior England debuts in a 1-0 Nations League win over Iceland.

Both Greenwood and Foden were conspicuous by their absence. when Southgate named his squad for the forthcoming Wembley triple-header against Wales, Belgium and Denmark.

Southgate revealed he had already told both players they would not be included this time around, before they left Iceland last month.

The England boss also said he will talk to his 30-strong squad ahead of the upcoming game about the importance of representing the country when called on to do so.

“What we found in the last camp was lots of new players coming in,” he said.

“So I think that maybe as a reminder when you have got lots of new players that you have to be a little more… not assuming that people are going to understand how you work and pick it up from the rest of the group.

“But I think always you have to work at culture. It never is embedded forever, it’s constantly evolving, the team group is constantly evolving, as players come and go.

“So you have always got to keep affecting that, keep addressing that and we will discuss the shirt, what it means to wear the shirt and some reminders on how we work – but that’s not a case of reading the riot act.

You have always got to keep affecting that, keep addressing that and we will discuss the shirt, what it means to wear the shirt and some reminders on how we work - but that's not a case of reading the riot act

“That’s a case of asking the players what sort of team they want to be involved in and be a part of and I think they have shown so many positives over the last years. But we had not been together for 10 months.”

Southgate is also keen to maintain the relationship the England team now once again have with supporters after rebuilding those bridges throughout his tenure.

“In terms of the broader message I just think that the last few years we’ve re-connected really well with the public, number one,” he added. “We’ve got to make sure we protect that.

“Number two, there are standards of working as a team and your culture as a team that are really important to protect.

“That will have often be challenged in different ways and has been for us over the last few months so we’ve got to make sure that we’re doing that in the right way, our senior players in particular have a big role to play within that.”

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It was also confirmed by Southgate that there would be no Under-21 call-up for Greenwood, 18, or Foden, 20, adding to talkSPORT: “I think, when we’ve taken the decision that they wouldn’t be involved with us, that applies across all of our teams this month.

“It wouldn’t be fair on the Under-21s as well for them to pick up what would be a big story if the two players were in their age group this time.

“We’ve taken the decision to give them that reflection.”

Southgate has, however, said that Manchester United forward Greenwood and Manchester City midfielder Foden will be available for selection for England’s games in November.

Young people will make mistakes. These lads have suffered enough now

“Whatever decision we would have taken this would have been the story tomorrow,” he said.

“We have to send a message to all our players in our teams at every age level that that sort of thing isn’t how we do things with England.

“Then we’ve got to rehabilitate these two boys. Young people will make mistakes. These lads have suffered enough now.

“I think they need this period of reflection but that gives them the opportunity to get back on their feet with their clubs, enjoy their football again.

“I can speak to them after this camp and it will be just be about their form then.”

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