Roy Hodgson insists he will not encourage his England players to master football’s “cynical” dark arts ahead of Euro 2016.
The English reputation for not diving may have been proved apocryphal over the years, but Harry Kane conformed to the stereotype of the stiff upper lip against Portugal last week.
He barely reacted when Bruno Alves kicked him in the head at Wembley – with the defender’s studs grazing the Tottenham man’s temple.
Alves was still sent off but Kane’s reaction – or lack of – drew some debate.
The man himself said in the aftermath that it was not in his nature to over-act, but others believe a certain element of performance is merely good practice at the highest level.
Hodgson is clearly torn but thinks habits are too ingrained in the England set-up to change at this stage.
“Harry’s first instinct when he didn’t get kicked severely was to carry on and to try and do something with the ball,” he said.
“Some people might say that’s very laudable, others might say you’ve got to go down, you’ve got to be cynical. I find the cynicism quite a hard thing to coach.
“Unfortunately that’s a very hard thing to teach. I think it has to be taught – if it’s going to be taught – at a very early age and be part of your culture; I’ve said many times I don’t think it is part of our culture.
“There will be occasions – and I take the point – that there will be a penalty, the player stays on his feet and maybe then it will be a very relevant question.
“But again…that’s hard for me, also being English, to start trying to teach people a manner of playing which I’ve never subscribed to and they don’t subscribe to.”
Hodgson’s side beat Portugal 1-0 at Wembley but were disjointed in attack, leading to question marks over both personnel and system.
And it is tactical questions that the coach will prioritise once England arrive at their Chantilly training base on Monday.
“I won’t be spending my coaching time teaching players to stay down, feign injury,” he said.
“I want to teach players how to defend better, attack better and that’s what I’ve been trying to do for four years and will continue to do so.”