England manager Gareth Southgate is anticipating a battle royale after taking his players to a Royal Marine boot camp in the build-up to Saturday’s World Cup qualifier in Scotland.
The ‘Three Lions’ had no idea what was laid in store when they reported up at their usual training facility St George’s Park last Friday. Twenty members of the England squad, along with key members of the Football Association’s backroom staff, were whisked away to a top secret trip.They had their phones confiscated and went away for three days in Devon in what doubled up as a team bonding exercise. They spent the next 48 hours in army fatigues completing a series of exercises designed for marine recruits.
They included a night camping under the stars on Woodbury Common, with Raheem Sterling pictured preparing sleeping bags in darkness.Even Southgate got dunked in the freezing cold water as England’s players were dressed in full military gear and given exercises.England boss Southgate said: “We wanted to come and put the guys into a different environment, something they weren’t expecting. “These guys (the Marines) represent Queen and country, and we do the same – but the consequences of failure for the Royal Marines are far higher. “That gives us a good context and comparison.“For me, the greatest outcome was that we worked as one team – support staff and players. “I think there was a real connection formed between everybody, and it was also a great life experience”Gary Cahill, Eric Dier, Chris Smalling, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford were given permission to miss the trip while the whole squad was given Monday off and will report up again on Tuesday.