Wales players celebrating wildly at England’s defeat to Iceland looks set to be turned into a video nasty to fire up England ahead of their clash. Gareth Southgate refused to reveal his precise motivational plans for the build up to the game
But the England manager had a mischievous grin when the leaked WhatsApp video of the Wales squad celebrating England’s Euro 2016 exit was suggested as the perfect motivation tool.
“I couldn’t say,” Southgate said. “We are aware of some of that but I couldn’t say if we would use it or not…!”
Seven of the players in the current squad were part of Roy Hodgson’s battered group that were sent home with their tails between their legs after the shock 2-1 defeat.
But Southgate was quick to dismiss that England team from any era might lack the passion of the Welsh in the World Cup’s first ever Battle of Britain.
“They have a great anthem to be fair,” he said.
“It’s stirring. If people want to say we have less passion then no problem. But they wouldn’t know our dressing room very well. Or any of the England dressing rooms I was in as a player.
“That’s an easy narrative for people to say but it’s not my experience of it.”
Southgate is set to make his first changes of the tournament with Jordan Henderson set to start in place of rested 19-year-old Jude Bellingham.
But despite calls to rest Harry Kane after two goalless performances, Southgate seems intent on keeping his skipper at the head of the attack.