Gareth Southgate worried for England squad's reputation
Gareth Southgate has hinted towards England's reputation being harmed by the young players that are going against COVID-19 guidelines, warning them that they have proven nothing yet.
This comes after Tammy Abraham, Ben Chilwell and Jadon Sancho were all ruled out for the friendly against Wales on Thursday night after their COVID-19 rules breach last weekend.
England's last two camps have been marred by indiscipline, with the previous one being blighted by Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood's lack of care and inviting people into their hotel room.
The September camp was also dominated by the dropping of Harry Maguire, with the defender having a criminal trial in Greece after allegations of a violent altercation with police.
Southgate has made it clear that the "circus" caused by off-field problems risks causing unnecessary pressure on the whole squad.
Whilst Abraham, Chilwell and Sancho have all apologised for their behaviour, their participation in the UEFA Nations League game against Belgium on Sunday all rests on the outcome of their COVID-19 tests.
Southgate has claimed that his senior players have worked extremely hard to rebuild a connection with the fans after the horror show against Iceland at UEFA Euro 2016, which led to the departure of Roy Hodgson, and he wants to avoid any more distractions that hinder the development of the whole squad.
Speaking during a press conference, Southgate said "We have to recognise that things like this affect the team," adding that "They affect the energy. They take time to deal with and that time would be better spent being able to focus on preparing for training, having coaching conversations with players."
He also added that "You want an environment with the players that the pressure on the team is not made higher than it already is by having this circus going around it. We have achieved that very well. The players have been with us for a long time deserve huge credit for that."
"We are going back to Iceland and some of the squad this week were involved and they have had to get through a lot of rough to get to a point where the team were respected and getting results which have not been achieved for 20 or 30 years and we are not prepared to let that disappear."
He concluded by saying that “The younger players coming in have got to realise they are in a position where they can feel comfortable with this group. That is important as you want them to feel they have got the freedom to play and can settle into the group but they have to realise they have done nothing yet. They have done nothing with us and have it all to prove. We have got to get that balance right.”
Abraham, Chilwell and Sancho broke the 'rule of six' guidelines after attending a surprise birthday party for Abraham in London last Saturday, and as a result they have been forced to delay their arrival with the squad in order to prevent the risk of infection within the group.