football

Southgate lays down the law to any England Euros hopefuls who break Covid rules


Gareth Southgate has warned he will not tolerate any players derailing England’s Euros campaign by breaking strict Covid rules.

England midfielder James Maddison was axed by Leicester last weekend after attending a house party which could end his hopes of getting into the squad this summer.

That comes on top of Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden being sent home from Iceland in disgrace after inviting girls to the team hotel while Ben Chilwell, Jadon Sancho and Tammy Abraham also broke protocols after being pictured at a party before England duty in October.

Southgate admitted he is still annoyed by the “distractions” which he said cost England a place in the Nations League finals and says he will not allow a repeat ahead of the summer even with lockdown being eased over the next few months.



Maddison has seen his chances of an England call-up reduced
Maddison has seen his chances of an England call-up reduced

Three Lions boss Southgate said: “Coming into the summer we’ve got to make sure we arrive into the camp giving ourselves the best chance to focus on football and that helps to create a calmer environment for everybody to go into the tournament.

“I’m obviously very conscious that Leicester have dealt with the situation brilliantly and they’ve got a massive game on Sunday, so I don’t think I should talk about specifics.

“In the end we’ve had issues ourselves in the autumn. That’s always very difficult for coaches to deal with. It puts you in really difficult positions. I can only compare that with March where we came in with no dramas coming into the camp.



Southgate says it is vital England players respect the rules
Southgate says it is vital England players respect the rules

“It’s just a much better environment to prepare for football. We were only having to make football decisions, prepare the team, talk about football topics. I think for any coaching staff and any team, when we went into the tournament in Russia we had minimal distractions going into it.

“That’s something I talked to the players about after the autumn. In the autumn discipline off the pitch and on the pitch created really the biggest issues for us and meant we didn’t get to the semi-finals of the Nations League that we were desperate to be in.

“It still annoys me when I look at that line-up – Italy, Spain, Belgium, France. It’s a brilliant line-up and games you want to be involved in. One of the key areas was that we didn’t have availability of players at certain times for on and off the field misdemeanours.”





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