Gareth Southgate places trust in England players

Gareth Southgate has put his trust in England’s players when it comes to how they relax before World Cup preparations get under way.

A frantic week that started with medical assessments, big decisions and tough phone calls continued on Thursday as Southgate faced the media a day after naming his 23-man squad to travel to Russia.

The players selected – minus those involved in the FA Cup or Champions League finals – are set to arrive at St George’s Park on Monday.

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“I’m not interested in what they do over the next few days,” he said. “It’s four weeks before we have a game.

“Before Euro ’96 I had three days in Magaluf with Aston Villa, so it would be a bit hypocritical to discuss what the correct preparation was.

“But I went for a run on a couple of mornings. It might have been run back home rather than run! There’s a danger we overfill them [players] with professionalism and doing the right thing.

“A lot of them don’t drink but some do and some need to wind down in a different way and I have a drink at times when I need one.”

Southgate is aware how players can overstep the mark, yet is keen for the squad to feel relaxed ahead of a busy summer of football.

The squad will be given time out throughout a home-based training camp and then small breaks during the World Cup.

“I don’t think they’ll feel that there’s been no freedom before we get to Russia,” Southgate added. “Environment then is a little bit different.

“Understandably we’re then not going to be travelling home. But they’ll have opportunity to see their family between games, we will give them some downtime when we’re there.”