Football

England players go commando

The England squad experienced a different kind of boot camp over the weekend after manager Gareth Southgate arranged a top-secret trip to the Royal Marines' Commando Training Centre.

Twenty members of the England squad, along with key members of the English Football Association's backroom staff, were whisked away on a surprise trip to the base in Devon last Friday and spent the next 48 hours in military uniform completing a series of exercises designed for marine recruits.

They included a night camping under the stars on Woodbury Common, while pictures carried on the FA's official website show Southgate was not afraid to get involved.

In one of the images. the Three Lions boss is seen being helped out of what looks like a water hazard of an obstacle course.

Elsewhere, Raheem Sterling is pictured preparing sleeping bags in darkness and Jake Livermore is applying camouflage paint.

The players will meet at St George's Park today, joined by Gary Cahill, Eric Dier, Chris Smalling, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford - who missed the excursion - to prepare for the World Cup qualifier against Scotland on Sunday morning (Singapore time).

"These guys represent Queen and country, and we do the same - but the consequences of failure for the Royal Marines are far higher," Southgate told www.thefa.com.

"That gives us a good context and comparison. We wanted to come and put the guys into a different environment, something they weren't expecting.

"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 teammates 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." -PA SPORT

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