Gareth Southgate: England players must be more responsible

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Gareth Southgate wants his England players to be more responsible after three of them broke social distancing guidelines, ruling them out of the friendly with Wales

England manager Gareth Southgate has reminded his players of their responsibilities following several high-profile breaches of coronavirus rules.

The England coach and his players held a meeting at St George's Park this week following two major lapses of discipline by squad members.

Tammy Abraham, Jadon Sancho and Ben Chilwell remain absent from the England camp after they breached coronavirus regulations by attending a party at Abraham's London flat on Saturday night while last month Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden were sent home from Iceland were sent home for breaching quarantine rules inside the team hotel.

Southgate reminded the players of their responsibilities during the meeting, and stressed how a similar situation at a major tournament could be much more damaging to the team.

Tammy Abraham, Ben Chilwell and Jadon Sancho
Image: Tammy Abraham, Ben Chilwell and Jadon Sancho will all be unavailable for England's game against Wales

"I don't think we can attribute what happens with players when they are with their clubs as the responsibility of England," he said. "But what we did earlier this week, we had a really good meeting with all of the players where we talked about the responsibility of being an England player and how the spotlight is different.

"When the story broke earlier in the week there was no mention of the clubs they play for, they were England players and the players need to be aware of that.

"When these incidents happen they take a lot of energy and focus away from the game and we can't afford that. If you're going into major tournaments and you have major incidents they can derail you, and I've seen that.

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"We've worked very hard over the past three or four years to get a connection with the fans back and some of the younger ones don't have the credit in the bank some of the more senior players, who have played in tournaments, have.

"Everyone from footballers to politicians has erred in terms of dealing with the virus and we all need to get back on track a little bit. There's a lot of disharmony now and we're all in this together, we need to work together."

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Abraham, Sancho and Chilwell will not be available for selection for England's game against Wales on Thursday night and if they are not cleared by Friday they will also not be considered for the match against Belgium on Sunday.

"We do have an issue in terms of the covid guidelines and making sure any player coming in is as low-risk as possible," Southgate said.

"So we're having to monitor the players - they will have been tested today and tomorrow. They will miss the Wales game and if they're not with us by Friday then they will miss the Belgium game too.

"At the moment they are all in consideration for later in the week but at the moment it's about protecting the whole group because we're bringing players in from a variety of places and we have to manage that as securely as we can."

England manager Gareth Southgate speaks to defender Harry Maguire
Image: Southgate speaks to defender Harry Maguire

Nev & Carra: The case for England's defence

After the ineffective deployment of his favoured 3-4-3 formation in Denmark, England boss Gareth Southgate is presented with another opportunity to experiment with formations as preparations for next summer's European Championships resume.

Settling on a defensive system that utilises the wealth of talent at Southgate's disposal, while providing the platform for England's attack to thrive, is now as crucial an objective as any after September's stalemate in Copenhagen.

So, is time needed to adapt? Should England play with a left-footed centre-back? Play to their strengths with four-man defence?

Nev and Carra analyse England's defensive options here

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Dominic Calvert-Lewin reveals how he found out he was in the England squad for the first time

Calvert-Lewin: I can't wait to work with Kane

Dominic Calvert-Lewin says he cannot wait to work with fellow England striker Harry Kane after the Evertonian was handed his first call-up, and feels there is a lot he can learn from his new team-mate.

Calvert-Lewin has enjoyed a blistering start to the campaign to help the Toffees to the top of the table, scoring nine goals in six games across all competitions, including back-to-back hat-tricks at Goodison Park.

"I'm always learning and he has been scoring goals for a long period of time," Calvert-Lewin said of Kane. "He broke into the Premier League and hit the ground running around the same age as me.

"He's got a lot of things to his game I can learn from and I can add that to my game. He is where he is for a reason. He's worked extremely hard, he's got great ability and he scores goals.

"For me as a player coming into the team, it's nice to get up close and personal and see how he operates on a daily basis."

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