Southgate trusts England stars but wants to avoid bad ‘headlines’

Date published: Sunday 19th March 2017 10:18

Gareth Southgate: Looking to achieve big things with England

Gareth Southgate has told his England players not to create negative headlines on their nights off but will not resort to heavy-handed curfews.

Wayne Rooney found himself on the front pages during the last international break after posing with fans at the team hotel in the early hours of the morning.

It was during scheduled down time between matches and there was no suggestion that Rooney’s interactions were anything but good-natured, but the images were still considered unflattering enough to warrant an apology and a concession they were “inappropriate” from the national captain.

Phil Jagielka was also pictured with Rooney, while reports of others players partying further afield soon followed.

Southgate was interim manager at the time but now is now in control on a permanent basis and wants his squad to use their free time in a less controversial fashion.

“They have to have time to relax, unwind and have down-time. It would be crazy to lock lads away,” he said.

“But moving forward I am going to slightly throw that to the players. How do they see it? How do they want to be as a team? What do they want to achieve?

“If you are at your club, you train and go home and you can have a switch off, you can see your family. In the international environment that is different so you have to have time to clear your head.

“What they do and how they do that is a good discussion to have as what they can’t have is the possibility of anything that will affect their performance. That is going to put pressure on them by being at the other end of the newspaper to the sport.

“My job as coach is to try to relieve that pressure so we don’t want to put extra pressure on ourselves with things that can be avoided.”

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