Emile Heskey says club cliques in England squad were allowed to exist during his career
Last Updated: 13/11/19 6:21am
Former England striker Emile Heskey says cliques within the squad were allowed to exist without question during his international career.
Heskey played in two World Cups and two European Championships under Sven-Goran Eriksson, Steve McClaren and Fabio Capello.
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The build-up to England's European Qualifier against Montenegro has been overshadowed by an altercation between Liverpool defender Joe Gomez and Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling - for which the latter was disciplined by being omitted from Thursday's squad.
England boss Southgate likened the row between to a family disagreement and insists the group are united.
"Inevitably it is going to happen in a sense because if me and you are from Liverpool and then you have two from Manchester United and two from Arsenal - generally I will sit with you because I am with you all the time," Heskey told Sky Sports News.
"It is how you get that nice little blend and get people moving around that bit more to try and break up that clique.
"(When I was involved) it was allowed to go like that really. If I saw you there and I know you from the club every day, I'm going to come sit next to you and start having a chat.
"It's not that we are not (intentionally) talking to them."
Heskey revealed that even when tensions ran high after big head-to-head Premier League matches involving England players, those hostilities never made it on to the training pitch on international duty.
"It's professionalism, you have to be as professional as possible," he continued.
"It's tough because you are a human being and you have emotions and they can run high (after a big game).
"No, I never saw (flashpoints in training). Football brings everyone together. We were all mixed in the teams (in training) and you just go on and play. It brings everyone together that way."
Heskey argued that this recent episode is just a blip in the progression of Sterling as England's best player.
"It was a little lapse of emotion. He will have to learn to control it," he said.
"He is growing up in the public eye, everything is going to be scrutinised. He's still learning about himself.
"100 per cent he is (the best player England have got)."