Southgate takes England on Royal Marines boot camp

ENGLAND manager Gareth Southgate took his squad on a secret trip to the Royal Marines’ Commando Training Centre in a bid to build their teamwork, leadership and adaptability.

The players’ preparations for the upcoming games against Scotland and France do not officially begin until today. But the majority of the group reported early to St George’s Park on Friday morning and Southgate had a surprise in store.

He gathered his players and support staff in a dressing room, where they met a member of the Royal Marines who told them they were relocating to Devon for 48 hours.

They took part in a range of training exercises at the camp, which is located between Exeter and Exmouth, including a night camping on Woodbury Common.

“We wanted to come and put the guys into a different environment, something they weren't expecting,” Southgate said.

“The Marines talk about a ‘dislocated expectation’, and that was part of the theme of the camp. How will we be adaptable in moments of difficulty for us as a team?

“There were some team objectives around pushing themselves beyond where they thought they could go and knowing you don't want to let any of your team-mates down.

“We wanted to expose the guys to an elite environment with one of the elite forces in the world. We wanted them to see that there's another world out there.

“These guys 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.

“I think we've taken so many different learnings forward from this in so many different areas, some of which are going to take a few days to sink in.

“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 for everybody.

“We're always thinking about football and the small world we're in, but there are life experiences that'll stay with you forever and I think this will stay with everyone – from our side and the Marines' side.

“We've seen their standards and the pride they have in their identity and the green beret, which is a powerful message for us to link with the Three Lions. We've got to be brave in terms of how we play and what we do.”

The Commando Training Centre’s commandant, Colonel Mike Tanner, added: “They threw themselves into every challenge with enthusiasm and good humour. The Royal Marines and England football team have much in common and the opportunity to share experience was valuable for us all.

“We are confident that this will be the start of a long and successful relationship.”

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