‘We have got to learn from it because 10 men in tournaments… you are out’: Gareth Southgate admits his squad have to be more disciplined after Harry Maguire and Reece James become the first England players to be sent off in the same game
Gareth Southgate has warned his players their indiscipline will cost them a crack at Euro 2020 glory after England had two men sent off for the first time on Wednesday night.
Southgate’s men suffered a punishing night, slumping to their first loss in over 12 months courtesy of Christian Eriksen’s first half penalty following a mix-up between Jordan Pickford and Kyle Walker.
But that was only part of the story as Harry Maguire and Reece James made history by becoming the first two England players to be sent off during the same game.
Gareth Southgate warned his team that their current indiscipline will cost them in the long-run
Harry Maguire was sent-off after 30 minutes on Wednesday night for two yellow cards
Having gone six years without a sending off, England have now had three in as many games after Kyle Walker was given his marching orders against Iceland last month.
Southgate, who has been besieged with a number of high-profile off the field disciplinary issues involving a number of his player, said: ‘We hadn’t had any in the last few weeks with the seniors, so that’s something we’ve got to learn from.
‘Of course there have been things off the field which haven’t been right. We’ve addressed them.
‘The discipline question is an obvious question that we are going to be asked because we have put ourselves in unnecessary positions off the field. We have got to learn from it because historically 10 men in tournaments, you are out.’
But Southgate leaped to Maguire’s defence after he picked up two bookings inside 31 minutes to cap a miserable period since being hit with a trio of guilty verdicts for his involvement in a violent incident whilst on holiday in Mykonos.
Maguire has found it tough since his trio of guilty verdicts after an incident in Mykonos
The Manchester Unite defender received a second yellow card for a lunge after losing the ball
Asked whether he felt the Manchester United defender needed a break away from the game, Southgate said: ‘Knowing Harry as I do, he’ll want to play football.
‘The best place for him to be is on the pitch. We know he’s happy for everybody to have an opinion on what he should be doing. That’s life as a top player. If nobody’s interested in you life’s very straightforward.
‘If you’re captain of United and a top player for England everybody has an opinion. You have to ride with that. He’s strong enough to deal with it. He’s got to show the resilience I know he has to come through that.
‘He is having a period where he is getting a lot of sticks thrown his way but he is big enough to deal with that he will come through it, he will be stronger for it.
‘He’s got our support and I’m sure his club will do the same. He is getting all sorts at the moment, from people who should know better. None of us like to be in the centre of that storm.’
Reece James spoiled an excellent performance by receiving a red card after the final whistle
Chelsea defender James spoiled an excellent performance by receiving a red card for dissent after the final whistle – the first England player to be sent off on his full debut.
And Southgate added: ‘The sending off in the end, I’m told was for a dissent – that’s something as a young player he has to recognise is not acceptable.
‘But I thought his individual performance was outstanding.’