Gareth Southgate has given England’s young players a no-nonsense warning – and insisted he will not let them “derail” his hopes of success.
Southgate was clearly frustrated after Tammy Abraham, Ben Chilwell and Jadon Sancho were made to report up late for England duty after breaking coronavirus protocols and admitted it has turned this week into a “circus.”
The trio will miss England’s friendly with Wales as punishment and that comes after Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood were sent home from Iceland in disgrace and Southgate warned the players they have done nothing yet.
England boss Southgate said: “If you are going into major tournaments and have those sort of incidents they can derail you. I have seen that in the past.
“That wasn’t the case ahead of the World Cup in Russia. We went in in a very calm state and that allowed us to focus on our football.
“I saw other teams not in that position and it had a real detrimental effect on how they were able to go into the tournament. The biggest thing is that we have to recognise that things like this affect the team.
“They affect the energy. They take time to deal with. And that time would be better spent being able to focus on preparing for training, having coaching conversations with players.
“So it draws you away from where you really want to be. This was something we spoke at length about with all the players who were here on Monday.
“That you want an environment with the players that the pressure on the team is not made higher than it already is by having this circus going around it.
“We have achieved that very well. The players who have been with us for a long time deserve huge credit for that.
“They have had to get through a lot of rough to get to a point where the team was respected and performing well and getting results, which have not been achieved for 20 or 30 years and we are not prepared to let that disappear.
“You want the younger players to feel they have got the freedom to play and can settle into the group but they have to realise they have done nothing yet. They have done nothing with us and have it all to prove.”