Manager refuses to get drawn into drama ahead of crucial Panama match but admits a second successive World Cup win would at least give cause for cautious optimism
Contrary to what you might have heard over the past 48 hours, there are much bigger issues within England’s camp right now than the story of Steve Holland’s training-ground notes, what they may or may not tell us about Gareth Southgate’s team for Sunday’s game against Panama and the rights and wrongs about the relevant details appearing in print.
Southgate quickly made that clear when he had his first look at the Nizhny Novgorod stadium and attempted to bring some common sense to all the escalating silliness. Was he cross? Not in the slightest. Was he bemused by the way it had been whipped up? Absolutely. “It’s a bonkers environment, isn’t it?” he asked, nursing a dislocated shoulder, supposedly at war with the England press corps and fending off questions from a Chinese journalist about the “hilarious” and “ridiculous” mistakes of England’s footballers through the ages, Raheem Sterling in particular.