Southgate urges downtime responsibility from England

Gareth Southgate has encouraged his England players to alleviate pressure on themselves by making sensible decisions off the field.

gareth southgate

Southgate was confirmed as national team manager on a permanent basis this week, penning a four year contract with the Football Association.

His spell as interim boss took in seven points from a possible nine in World Cup qualifying and a friendly draw against Spain at Wembley, although credit for the team’s performances in the latter game and a win over Scotland was tempered by concerns regarding off-field behaviour.

Captain Wayne Rooney was pictured alongside team-mate Phil Jagielka attending a wedding party at England’s team hotel the night after beating Scotland 3-0.

The Manchester United star allegedly remained at the party until 5am the following morning, while Liverpool colleagues Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana were reported to have made a 220-mile round trip to visit a strip club in Bournemouth while on international duty.

Southgate rejected the notion of implementing draconian restrictions on his players but insisted they should not put themselves under undue scrutiny.

“There is a level of expectation when you are with England,” he told reporters. “We talk about pressure, and we spend most of our time trying to relieve it, so if we put ourselves in positions where we are going to increase that pressure… it is not intelligent.

“As a playing squad and group of staff, it’s important we recognise we want to be a top team, so everything we do has to be geared towards improving.

“There has to be some time to unwind, to have a glass of beer or wine, but that has to be done at the appropriate time and at the right level if we aren’t going to inhibit the way we perform.

“Fundamental to it all is how we are going to perform at the high level because, in international and top European football in this day and age, physical preparation is key.”

In an apparent reference to predecessor Fabio Capello’s strict regime that was blamed for a below-par showing at the 2010 World Cup, Southgate added: “I’m not convinced that draconian measures are going to work with English players, and we’ve maybe had a go at that in the past.

“But there have got to be lines of what is acceptable and what isn’t. The key is always thinking about performance.”

The former Middlesbrough defender also denied cautioning Rooney against socialising in between matches.

“The only person I’ve told to go to bed in the last few years is my son, and he’s never too fussed about that discussion either,” he said.

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