Technical director Les Reed parts ways with FA as Gareth Southgate lays down law to England squad

The England manager emphasised the “responsibility of wearing the shirt”, how the players are representing their nation and also to be aware of the added scrutiny that comes from social media.

The manager felt moved to address the squad – with a number of players also speaking – in the wake of a series of off-the-field incidents culminating in Jadon Sancho, Ben Chilwell and Tammy Abraham being ordered to stay away until on Wednesday after the FA began an investigation into them attending a surprise 23rd birthday party for Abraham at the weekend which appeared to break the Covid-19 rules.

All three players will miss Thursday’s friendly against Wales and have placed their involvement in the Nations League ties against Belgium and Denmark in jeopardy. Each has also been spoken to individually by Southgate on the phone.

Southgate was already due to deliver a strong message to his players after sending home Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood – who have been omitted from this squad as further punishment – when they contravened the quarantine rules following England’s win over Iceland last month by inviting two women to the team hotel in Reykjavik.

The Leicester City winger Harvey Barnes, who has received his first call-up, said that it was important all the players remembered they were “in the public eye” and acted accordingly.

“As players we haven’t spoken to those boys (Sancho, Chilwell and Abraham) so we don’t know exactly what has gone on but as a group we had a chat, just a reminder to make sure we are all on the same page and we all understand the responsibility that comes with representing your country,” Barnes said.

“It wasn’t a telling off (from Southgate), it was more reminding ourselves of what is acceptable and what’s not. We are all very clear on that. We are all very supportive of the whole group.”

The 22-year-old added: “It was a general meeting with the squad – not just Gareth but as players we all spoke as well and made sure we are all on the same page with it.

“We realise the responsibility that we have now and as players we know that we are in the public eye. I suppose the responsibility and the actions that we make are going to be going to be out there so it was just really a reminder to everyone, making sure we’re doing stuff right on and off the pitch.”

Goalkeeper Nick Pope added:  “We’re being reminded about the responsibilities of being England players and just going out on the football pitch and performing to the best of your ability.

“It’s day-in, day-out whether you’re now at your club or in your country is something that is important to know representing your club in your country at all times.

“To be reminded of that is good and some people are new into the squad or remember as well some people are young and it’s not everyone’s 30, 31, 32 and been around, seen it all and done it all…it is good to be reminded and have to have words among ourselves now we have got together as a squad. It is important to squash these things and moving forward be better and represent ourselves better.”

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