England stars need to act like ambassadors – Southgate demands improved discipline

By Sports Desk December 07, 2020

Gareth Southgate will not set strict boundaries when it comes to team discipline but the England boss expects his players to be "reliable" and "good ambassadors".

Harry Maguire, Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood have all been involved in high-profile incidents in recent months that led to them being dropped from Three Lions duty. 

A breach of coronavirus isolation rules while in Iceland proved costly for Manchester City playmaker Foden and Manchester United forward Greenwood in September. 

The pair appeared to be shown in a Snapchat video posted by one of the women they were said to be socialising with at England's team hotel in Iceland, a meeting then forbidden under the country's strict rules in response to COVID-19.

Both were sent home and missed a subsequent game against Denmark, although Foden was recalled for England's matches against Republic of Ireland, Belgium and Iceland last month. 

Maguire was also in the headlines for the wrong reasons in August after he was arrested while on holiday on the Greek island of Mykonos.

The 27-year-old – who was originally selected, then dropped from the October internationals – is appealing a suspended prison sentence after he was found guilty of aggravated assault, resisting arrest and attempted bribery.

While Southgate is not prepared to lay down strict rules for his players, he does expect them to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times. 

"I would think every club is going to want to minimise the issues," he told a media conference. 

"On a broader level, I mentioned the responsibilities of being an England player. That shows the change of landscape for any players involved with us. 

"We want the country to connect with the team, be proud of the team and that they are good ambassadors for everything we are trying to do. 

"Reliability is part of our criteria. I'm not going to say this is the line, and anyone who crosses it we don't consider, but we're always observing how professional they are and how they will be if they are away with us for 35-40 days. All of that has to come into our thinking."

Southgate was speaking after England were drawn against Poland, Hungary, Albania, Andorra and San Marino in Group I for 2022 World Cup qualifying. 

That means a meeting with Poland striker Robert Lewandowski, who has started the season in scintillating form for Bayern Munich.

After 55 goals across all competitions last term for the Bundesliga and Champions League winners, Lewandowski has already plundered 15 goals this campaign. 

Southgate is an admirer of the 32-year-old and says his defenders will relish the opportunity to try and shackle one of the world's best strikers. 

"He's an incredible finisher," Southgate added. "I love the way he plays. He's got an excellent all-round game, protecting the ball, bringing others into play. All different types of finishes. 

"He's a huge talisman for Poland. It's a great challenge for our defenders to come up against centre-forwards like that.

"In the modern game, there are not so many number nines, but Lewandowski is absolutely in that mould."

Related items

  • West Ham's Michail Antonio to accept invitation to join Jamaica's Reggae Boyz - report West Ham's Michail Antonio to accept invitation to join Jamaica's Reggae Boyz - report

    Jamaica’s World Cup campaign is set to be bolstered by the addition of West Ham striker Michail Antonio, who reports say, is to accept an invitation from the Jamaica Football Federation to represent the Reggae Boyz.

  • Mourinho compares Tottenham teenager to Marcus Rashford Mourinho compares Tottenham teenager to Marcus Rashford

    Jose Mourinho lavished praise on Tottenham youngster Dane Scarlett following an impressive Europa League cameo, likening him to Manchester United star Marcus Rashford.

    The 16-year-old made his fourth senior appearance for the club on Wednesday, coming off the bench for the final 10 minutes a 4-0 win over Wolfsberger.

    And he made a telling impact almost immediately, hustling a defender out of possession to set up Carlos Vinicius for the hosts' fourth goal.

    Mourinho could barely contain his delight at the rapid progress of a player whose quality reminds him of another major talent he once helped develop.

    "He is a diamond, a kid with incredible potential," the Portuguese told BT Sport.

    "He has worked many times with the first team and that gives him a different personality. He is still 16, 17 soon [in March] and I believe next season he will be a first-team squad player because he has a lot of talent.

    "He is going to be a fantastic player and I hope everything around him goes well. He is a striker, a number nine, I have been playing him from the sides similar to Marcus Rashford and he is very clever.”

    Mourinho praised Scarlett even further in his post-match media conference, revealing the teenager is already splitting his time between the senior squad and Under-23s.

    "Dane has incredible talent. I don't want to speak too much because tomorrow I arrive in the building and the kid's boss is going to kill me," he added.

    "I don't want that so I don't want to speak too well about him. I just want to say that he will be 17 next month and I want him to be part of the first-team squad next season.

    "So this season he is there and here, goes to training sessions with us and matches with the kids of his age and trains there.

    "Next season he has to be a first-team player. Immense talent. Very good physical development.

    "He's very good, he's going to be very good. I hope that nothing is going to destroy that potential. He must have feet on the ground and head on his shoulders because he has a fantastic talent."

  • Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson's father drowns in Brazil – reports Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson's father drowns in Brazil – reports

    Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson's father is reported to have drowned, with former club Internacional tweeting their condolences. 

    According to widespread reports, the 57-year-old was swimming close to his holiday home in Brazil on Wednesday when he was reported missing. 

    A search was launched and his body was found. 

    Internacional, for whom Alisson's brother Muriel also used to play, tweeted: "It is with great sadness that we received the news of the death of Jose Agostinho Becker, father of our former goalkeepers Alisson and Muriel. 

    "Clube do Povo wishes strength to family and friends in this moment of so much pain." 

    Brazil international Becker moved to Anfield from Roma in 2018, after appearing for his country at the World Cup in Russia. 

    The 28-year-old won the Champions League in his debut season and helped Jurgen Klopp's side to the Premier League title last term. 

     

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.