England’s World Cup squad have been told not to play too nice with each other in Russia by manager Gareth Southgate.
Previous Three Lions sides have suffered from inter-club rivalries – with the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand revealing how the so-called ‘golden generation’ were split along partisan lines.
Southgate sees no such issues among his current group and even feels they are close to being too cosy.
“I don’t think at the moment we have that intense rivalry between two clubs that has existed in the past,” he said.
“I don’t see it with this group. Maybe it could become the case as certain teams begin to dominate and grow but it certainly isn’t there at the moment.
“At meal times they all sit with each other, from different clubs. At times I think they get on too well, the next stage as a team is they get on so well that they start to pull each other up, raise standards in training and get hold of each other on the pitch.
“Just getting on isn’t enough. We’ve got to go deeper than that.”
Southgate also made a light-hearted reference to the inseparable Manchester United pair Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford, adding: “There’s one or two who are closer than others…you rarely see Jesse and Marcus without them holding hands or doing something together.”