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22nd Jun 2018

Gareth Southgate doesn’t sound happy with the English media

Reporters have not hesitated to publish any apparent leaks

Darragh Murphy

Gareth Southgate has rejected reports that notes from a training session revealed his starting XI for Sunday’s clash with Panama.

A Daily Mirror photograph snapped at a session on Thursday led many to believe that Raheem Sterling and Dele Alli would be replaced by Marcus Rashford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek for England’s second World Cup Group G game.

But Southgate, who previously insisted upon more stringent privacy measures in the England camp, has claimed that the notepad which was held by assistant manager Steve Holland had actually given nothing away.

The England boss also appeared unhappy with the eagerness with which English media outlets have recently pounced on apparent team leaks.

While it is the job of reporters in Russia to publish any exclusive information they might have, Southgate has suggested that national allegiance should come first by insisting that journalists were simply providing a disadvantage to the English team by giving away tactics.

“There is a squad of 23 names on the sheet,” Southgate told talkSPORT. “The next sheet has different players in different positions because we swap people in and swap people out.

“The stories are then run as they are. For me, it’s no drama.

“Obviously any time, if we were to give the opposition the opportunity of having our team it’s a disadvantage to us so of course our media has to decide whether they want to help the team or not. But given that it was just a squad list, it doesn’t really make any difference to us really.”