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England manager Gareth Southgate to speak to players after last camp’s disciplinary issues


Gareth Southgate will discuss what it means to play for England with his players after Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood’s disciplinary breaches at the last international camp.

Southgate dropped Foden and Greenwood from his 30-man squad for October’s internationals, announced on Thursday, after their liaison with two women at the team hotel in Reykyavik last month.

The Manchester City midfielder and Manchester United forward, both first-time call-ups, were sent home by Southgate after learning of the liaison, which broke the camp’s coronavirus protocols.

The incident followed Harry Maguire’s withdrawal from the squad due to being found guilty of aggravated assault while on holiday on the Greek island of Mykonos. Maguire is appealing the verdict and was recalled by Southgate on Thursday.

The England manager has not permanently exiled Foden and Greenwood, and spoke on Thursday of the need to “rehabilitate” the two youngsters.

Southgate will, however, speak to his squad as a whole before the forthcoming internationals against Wales, Belgium and Denmark in order to remind them of their responsibilities as England players.

“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.

“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 said that he had spoken with both Foden and Greenwood, making it clear that they would not be considered for October’s internationals, though suggested that both players could return for the next England camp in November if they are in form for their clubs.

“I had a chat with both of them before we left Iceland to go to Denmark and explained how difficult the next few days was going to be for them so tried to offer some support there but also I was pretty clear then that it was going to be impossible to pick them for October,” he said.

“At the moment there’s nothing to add to that but I’ll definitely speak to them before the next camp because we were never going to consider them for this one.”

Southgate added: “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, and 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 and 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. 

“They can help when we’re together now, we’ve got a lot of youngsters coming in, we are a very inexperienced squad. We do like caps, we do lack some experience but we want to give these young players their opportunity. 

“It’s the right thing England for the next few years and so those older guys, more experienced guys, have got to help mentor and not only set standards in how they do things but also talk to the younger players explain the difficulties of playing for England, explain how the spotlight’s different to the club, so that’s as a key role for our more senior players next week for a start.”

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